Center for Healthy Cities, Aging and Citizenship

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Coordinator: Prof. Adriana Araújo Portella                       Academic Profile

Aging must be understood as a construction crossed by a plurality of rationale, practices and cultural values that shape the ages of life. Recent studies conducted by the World Health Organization show that from now until 2050 the number of people over 65 will double, which poses a number of challenges, especially for countries like Brazil. The idea of healthy aging points to some fundamental data such as the insertion of elderly individuals in a friendly city, the development of intergenerational practices that allow for the use of accumulated experiences and the transmission of memories, the development of strategies of inclusion and elimination of obstacles of this individual within the social context that surrounds him/her.

The elderly individual is situated between three spatial dimensions, which correspond to different levels of interaction and memory: the domain space of the public power – the city, the shared space – the neighborhood, the private space – the dwelling. These three dimensions, in which daily experiences are included, must be adapted so that the aging process takes place in a healthy way, granting autonomy to the elderly, strengthening social ties through integration in dense networks such as the neighborhood. These are life paths that evoke memorable narratives, key for the affirmation of social identity.

This Center will involve teams from the Graduate Programs in Social Memory and Cultural Heritage and a Graduate Program in Architecture and Urbanism, together with the Laboratoire de Sociologie Mémoire et Cognition (LASMIC) of the Université Nice Anthipolis, France, and the international partnership project “Designing Places with the Elderly: Towards Age-Friendly Communities”, funded by the Newton and ESRC Funds, coordinated in the United Kingdom by Heriot University-Watt in Edinburgh, and the Universidade Federal de Pelotas in Brazil, as well as researchers participating in the development of the application “APP+Saude”, developed in partnership with the National University of La Patagonia San Juan Bosco (UNPSJB).

The Center aims to analyze the interaction of these three dimensions – the city, the environment, and the dwelling – with the perspective of including the matter of aging in the policies of urbanism, seeking to generate solutions that may be part of public agendas.