The PlaceAge Project is undertaken a cross-national case study approach. Experiential research involving older adults and place have primarily been conducted as single-nation studies. Whilst these studies have made an important contribution to the research picture, there is a tendency to generalise outcomes and assume tools and resources are applicable across different national contexts. A comparative, multiple, cross-national case study approach is needed to understand the diversity of place-based experiences of older adults, and how this is influenced by neighbourhood, social contexts, welfare regimes and processes of urban governance and planning.

PlaceAge selected three cities as case studies in Brazil (BrasiliaPelotasBelo Horizonte), three cities as case studies in the UK (GlasgowEdinburghManchester) and three cities as case studies in India (HyderabadCalcutta, Delhi). The case study cities have been selected to represent a broad spectrum of urban areas, in terms of demography (mixed tenures by age), inequality (health and social disparities between high and low income groups), topography (different types of urban densities and form) and urban development (varying levels of physical transformation and change).

Within each of the case study cities, three neighbourhoods have been selected reflecting differing levels of affluence, distance from the city, and demographic composition. Neighbourhood level analysis has been chosen because: (i) the greatest time spent by older adults in retirement is at home and in the immediate neighbourhood locality, (ii) older adults are often increasingly dependent upon social relationships in the neighbourhood as they age; and (iii) older adults have important psychological and emotional bonds and association with the neighbourhood.

Case study analysis places emphasis on how different conditions at the local level affect sense of place experiences of older adults. In other words, how do physical, social and cultural factors interact to affect sense of place and experiences of sense of place amongst older adults across the different case study areas? How do various urban environments currently support (or inhibit) the social participation and meaningful engagement in old age? What would urban environments looks like if they supported successful ageing for older adults? Comparative analysis of the different case studies are conducted cross-nationally to establish commonalities and differences in the experiences of older adults across different socio-cultural contexts. Comparative analyses focus on identifying variations across localities and the reasons for such differences. An introduction of each city is presented below:

Edinburgh, UK

Total population: 464.990 hab
Density: 1.786 hab./km²
Eldery population (60+): 92.06 hab. (19,8%)
Life expectancy: 77,9 years
Location: map
Study areas

Brief Story: Edinburgh has been the capital city of Scotland since the 15th century and is home to the Scottish Parliament. It is considered the largest financial centre in the UK after London. Edinburgh is Scotland’s second most populous city and the seventh most populous in the UK (2014 mid-year population estimates are 492,680). Similar to many other cities, population density in Edinburgh is highest in inner suburban areas around the commercial core of the city centre, particularly in the Leith Walk and the South Side areas. The former comprising nearly 26,000 people resident within an 800-meter radius. This is a higher area population density than anywhere else in Scotland, including Glasgow. Currently, 55 per cent of the city’s population live within 4 km of the centre of Edinburgh, contrasting with 48 per cent in 1981 (The City of Edinburgh, 2013). Most evident features of the city landscape are Edinburgh Castle, Arthur Seat, St Giles’ Cathedral and Holyrood Park. The city has two distinct areas, the medieval Old Town and the neoclassical New Town. According to UNESCO “the harmonious juxtaposition of these two contrasting historic areas, each with many important buildings, is what gives the city its unique character” (UNESCO World Heritage Centre, 2016), features that granted the city’s Old and New towns to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. The city’s historical and cultural attractions have made it a very popular touristic destination (nearly 13 million people visit the city each year), especially during Edinburgh International Festival and the Fringe Festival, the latter considered the largest annual international arts festival in the world. Persons aged 60 and over comprise 19.8 per cent of City of Edinburgh; this is smaller than Scotland where people aged 60 and over make up 24.2 per cent of the population. (National Records Scotland, 2016). Edinburgh joined the World Health Organization Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities in 2012.

Glasgow, UK

Total population: 606.340 hab.
Density: 3.333.8 hab./km²
Eldery population (60+): 112.17 hab. (18.5%)
Life expectancy: 73.4 years
Location: map
Study areas

Brief Story: Situated on the River Clyde in the country’s West Coast, Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and the third largest city in the UK (2014 mid-year population estimates are 599,640), after London and Birmingham. When compared to Edinburgh, Glasgow is a much larger metropolitan area, with several large ‘satellite; towns in close proximity (The city of Edinburgh, 2013). Once considered the largest seaport in Britain and major centre of the Scottish Enlightenment in the 18th century; Glasgow’s rich and diverse “history is all around the city and Glaswegians are proud of their diverse history, giving them a sense of pride and identity in their city.” (People Make Glasgow, 2016). When compared to other large cities in Scotland (Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee), Glasgow has the largest percentage of ethnic minority groups (12%). The largest, single ethnic minority group is Pakistani, and a higher percentage of population recorded their ethnic group as Pakistani in Glasgow (4%) compared to Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee (around 1%) (Understanding Glasgow, 2016). The city of Glasgow is now the second most popular tourist destination in Scotland and offers the country’s largest retail centre. Glasgow’s medieval St Mungo’s cathedral is one of the city’s most famous attractions and has been a dedicated place of worship for the last 800 years. Oftentimes considered one of the finest in Great Britain, St Mungo’s is an iconic architectural feature of the city and distinguishes itself from others by its extensive and impressive collection of post-war stained glass windows (History, 2015). The university of Glasgow forms an important part of the city’s historical and cultural heritage. Founded in 1451 is the fourth oldest University throughout the English-speaking world and it has produced such talents as scientist Lord Kelvin, economist Adam Smith, and the famous inventor John Logie Baird (History, 2015). Glasgow’s recovery from a period of economic decline has been dramatic, with an intense transformation that started in the 1980s; by the end of decade it had been declared ‘European City of Culture’, followed by ‘City of Architecture and Design’, and the first British city to be named UNESCO ‘City of Music’ as part of the Creative Cities Network in 2008. Older adults aged 65 and over comprise 13.9 per cent of Glasgow city population (Understanding Glasgow, 2016). Glasgow joined the World Health Organisation Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities in March 2015.

Manchester, UK

Total population: 514.414 hab.
Density: 4,571 hab./km²
Eldery population (60+): 142.49 hab. (27.7%)
Life expectancy: 75 years
Location: map
Study areas

Brief Story: The city of Manchester achieved city status in 1853 and is considered the World’s first industrial city. It has a rich and historic legacy of industrialisation stretching back over two centuries, which declined after WWII. Manchester lies within one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the UK (2014 mid-year population estimates are 514, 417) and is the third-most visited city in the country. Manchester city centre was destroyed in a bombing attack in 1996 by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), the tragedy however led to extensive investment and regeneration (the city received around £583 million in private and public funding), giving way to a thriving modern city (BBC, 2016). In 2014, the Globalization and World Cities Research Network ( ranked Manchester as a beta world city, the highest-ranked British city apart from London. Public transport is one of the main features of the city’s heritage. Manchester was the place of the world’s first railway line which opened in 1830 and Victoria Station is one of the world’s oldest continuously operating stations and it is still the second largest station in the UK. Very important cultural and social contributions have originated in this city: Emmeline Pankhurst, the mother of the Suffragette movement led the campaign for women’s right to vote. The Guardian, currently one of the most respected newspapers in the UK and also in the world, was founded in 1821 as The Manchester Guardian. Today Manchester is also renowned for being a gay-friendly city; the area around Canal Street became one of the UK’s most thriving and active gay communities in the early 90s, making a point of referring to itself as a ‘gay village’. Manchester is also well known for being a city of sport with two Premier League football clubs: Manchester United and Manchester City. Persons aged 65 and over comprise 9.4 per cent of Manchester total population, according to the 2015 Mid-Year Estimate (Manchester City Council, 2016). Manchester council’s efforts towards an age-friendly city have been in place since 2003 through the Valuing Older People programme. (Manchester City Council, 2016). In 2010 Manchester was the first UK city to join the World Health Organisation Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities and by 2014 attained WHO accreditation as an Age-Friendly City.

Brasilia, Brazil

Total population: 2.977, 216 hab (IBGE, 2016)
Density: 444,66 hab./km²
Eldery population (60+): 198.012 hab. (7,7%))
Life expectancy: 77,3 years (IBGE, 2013)
Location: map
Study areas

Brief Story: The aspiration for the construction of Brazil’s new capital had begun when the country was still a Portuguese colony. The reasons to justify the project were the search for security against possible attacks from the sea, a better integration of the huge land and the motivation to create a new Brazilian man. When Juscelino Kubtitschek (JK) reached the Presidency, he set a deadline for the construction of the new capital: three years and ten months. Combining the tenacity of an audacious dreamer and the help of visionary artists and compromised workers, the city was inaugurated on the appointed day: 21st April 1960. Brasília’s futuristic and innovative form comes, mainly, from the work of Lúcio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer. Lúcio Costa, an urban planner, won the contest to design a pilot project for Brasília, presenting some sketches, a description of his proposal and the prospect for the city to have 5, 000.000 inhabitants. According to Lúcio Costa the plan reflected the gesture of one who lays down a mark or takes control: Two lines intersecting at right angles, one axis designated to the monuments, the other, for the residential area, its services and facilities. The project required a qualified architect and JK, who as mayor of Belo Horizonte invited Niemeyer to design a plan for the suburb of Pampulha, invited Niemeyer once more. Nowadays, after more than five decades, and housing 2.500.000 inhabitants, the saga of Brasília continues. From time to time victories are commemorated, defeats are lamented and the dream of shaping a new man in the country of the future continues.

Pelotas, Brazil

Total population: 343.651 hab (IBGE, 2016).
Density: 203.89 hab./km²
Eldery population (60+): 49.794 hab. (15,17%)
Life expectancy: 75,64 years (IBGE, 2010)
Location: map
Study areas

Brief Story: The city of Pelotas, in the Federal State of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil, is located 249 km from the city of Porto Alegre, capital of the State, and 150 km from the Uruguayan border, and has 328.275 habitants, where 15% of the population is 60 years old or more (Censo, 2010). It is one of the most important historic cities in Rio Grande do Sul, and is recognized by its cultural and historic role in the urban development of this State. The history of the city begins in June 1758. In 1943 Pelotas was recognized as a city but, before that, this place was already well known across the country. In the nineteenth century, Pelotas was known as one of the most prosperous centres of cultural and commercial activities in Brazil, and the richest city of the State. During this period, several remarkable buildings were built in the city, and today they still portray the visual character of Pelotas. The majority of immigrants came from Portugal, and their influence determined many features of the local character, culture, and architecture of the city. German immigrants also came to Pelotas, as did other European groups, but in smaller numbers. The increasing economic development of the city was brought to a halt by the economic circumstances created after the First World War. In the present time, Pelotas has a flourishing peach industry and is well known for its production of traditional Portuguese sweets. This city hosts two universities responsible for an important part of the local economic development, and it is the biggest and most developed commercial centre in the southern part of Rio Grande do Sul. In terms of streetscape, the city centre of Pelotas is characterized by contemporary and historic buildings, the last ones dating from the nineteenth century are in general harmed by commercial signs; very few historic buildings are still preserved and not covered by these media.

Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Total population: 2.513.451 hab (IBGE, 2016)
Density: 7.167,00 hab./km²
Eldery population (60+): 299.177 hab. (12,6%)
Life expectancy: 70,52 years (IBGE, 2010)
Location: map
Study areas

Brief Story: Belo Horizonte is the sixth largest city in Brazil, the thirteenth largest city in South America and the eighteenth largest city in the Americas. The metropolis is anchor to the Belo Horizonte metropolitan area, ranked as the third most populous metropolitan area in Brazil and the seventeenth most populous in the Americas. Belo Horizonte is the capital of the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil’s second most populous state. It is the first planned modern city in Brazil. The region was first settled in the early 18th century, but the city as it is known today was planned and constructed in the 1890s, in order to replace Ouro Preto as the capital of Minas Gerais. The city features a mixture of contemporary and classical buildings, and is home to several modern Brazilian architectural icons, most notably the Pampulha Complex. In planning the city, Aarão Reis and Francisco Bicalho sought inspiration in the urban planning of Washington, D.C. The city has employed notable programs in urban revitalization and food security, for which it has been awarded international accolades. The city is built on several hills and is surrounded by mountains. There are several large parks in the immediate surroundings of Belo Horizonte. The Mangabeiras Park (Parque das Mangabeiras), located 6 km south-east from the city centre in the hills of Curral Ridge (Serra do Curral), has a very broad view of the city. It has an area of 2.35 km2 (580 acres), of which 0.9 km2 (220 acres) is covered by the native forest. The Jambeiro Woods (Mata do Jambeiro) nature reserve extends over 912 hectares (2,250 acres), with vegetation typical of the Atlantic forest. More than one hundred species of birds inhabit the reserve, as well as ten different species of mammals (Wikipedia, 2016).

Delhi, India

Total population: 26 million hab (2016)
Density: 18,480 hab./km²
Eldery population (60+): 6,8% dos hab. (2011)
Life expectancy: 73,2 years
Location: map
Brief Story: Delhi  is a city and a union territory of India. It is bordered by Haryana on three sides and by Uttar Pradesh to the east. The NCT covers an area of 1,484 square kilometres (573 sq mi). According to the 2011 census, Delhi city proper’s population was over 11 million, the second-highest in India after Mumbai, while the whole NCT’s population was about 16.8 million. Delhi’s urban area is now considered to extend beyond the NCT boundary and include the neighboring cities of Faridabad, Gurgaon, Noida and Ghaziabad in an area now called Central National Capital Region (CNCR) with an estimated 2016 population of over 26 million people, making it the world’s second-largest urban area according to United Nations. As of 2016 recent estimates of the metro economy of its urban area have ranked Delhi either the most or second-most productive metro area of India. It is the second-wealthiest city after Mumbai in India, with a total wealth of $450 billion and home to 18 billionaires and 23,000 millionaires. Delhi has been continuously inhabited since the 6th century BC. Through most of its history, Delhi has served as a capital of various kingdoms and empires. It has been captured, ransacked and rebuilt several times, particularly during the medieval period, and modern Delhi is a cluster of a number of cities spread across the metropolitan region. A union territory, the political administration of the NCT of Delhi today more closely resembles that of a state of India, with its own legislature, high court and an executive council of ministers headed by a Chief Minister. New Delhi is jointly administered by the federal government of India and the local government of Delhi, and is the capital of the NCT of Delhi. Delhi hosted the first and ninth Asian Games in 1951 and 1982, respectively, 1983 NAM Summit, 2010 Men’s Hockey World Cup, 2010 Commonwealth Games, 2012 BRICS Summit and was one of the major host cities of the 2011 Cricket World Cup. Delhi is also the centre of the National Capital Region (NCR), which is a unique ‘interstate regional planning’ area created by the National Capital Region Planning Board Act of 1985.

Hyderabad, India

Total population: 8,7 million inhabitants
Density: 18.480 inhab./km²
Population of the elderly (60+): 7% hab.
Life expectancy: 68,5 years
Location: map
Brief Story: Hyderabad is the capital of the Indian state of Telangana occupying 650 square kilometers (250 sq ml) along the banks of the Musi River. When the GHMC was created in 2007, the area occupied by the municipality increased from 175 km2 (68 sq mi) to 650 km2 (250 sq mi). According to the 2001 census, the population increased from 3,637,483 to 6,809,970 (increase of 87%) in the 2011 census, 24% of which are migrants from elsewhere in India. Hyderabad is the fourth most populated city in India. As of 2011, the population density is 18,480/ km2 (47,900/sq mi). At the same time, (2011 census), the Hyderabad Urban Agglomeration had a population of 7,749,334, making it the sixth most populous urban agglomeration in the country. Early 2013, the population of the Hyderabad was estimated by electoral officials to be 9.1 million but is expected to exceed 10 million by the end of the year. There are 3,500,802 male and 3,309,168 female citizens with a sex ratio of 945 females per 1000 males, higher than t he national average of 926 per 1000. Literacy stands at 82.96% (male 8.96%; female 79.79%), higher than the national average of 74.04%. The socio-economic strata consist of 20% upper class, 50 middle class and 30% working class. The residents of Hyderabad are predominantly Telugu and Urdu speaking people, with minority Bengali, Gujarati (including Memon), Kannada (including Nawayathi), Malayalam, Marathi, Marwari, Odia, Punjabi, Tamil and Uttar Pradesh communities. The most commonly transport in Hyderabad includes government owned services such as light railways and buses, as well as privately operated taxis and auto rickshaws.


Kolkata, India

Total population: 4.6 million
Density: 22,000 inhab / km²
Population of the elderly (60+): 37, 30,276 hab. (F), 37, 60,238 inhab. (M)
Population of the elderly (80+): 3, 87,000 inhab. (F), 3, 38,000 inhab. (M)
Life expectancy: 70.1 years (F), 67.6 years (M)
Location: map

Brief Story: Kolkata also known as Calcutta is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal with a population of 4.5 million. The city and suburbs has a population of 14.1 million, making it the third-most populated metropolitan area in India. Kolkata is known for its literary, artistic, and revolutionary heritage; as the former capital of India, it was the birthplace of modern Indian literary and artistic thought. The sex ratio is 899 females per 1000 males-lower than the national average. Bengali Hindus form the majority of Kolkata’s population; Marwaris, Biharis and Muslims compose large minorities. According to the 2011 census, 76.51% of the population is Hindu, 20.60% Muslim, 0.88% Christian, and 0.47% Jain. Public transport is provided by the Kolkata Suburban Railway, the Kolkata Metro, trams, rickshaws, and buses. Total percent of elderly population in West Bengal is 8.2% with male 8.2 % and 8.2% of female. Total percent of elderly in rural areas is 7.5% with male 7.4% and female 7.6 %. Total percent of elderly in urban is 7.6% with male 10.3% and female 10.0%.