Ideal ageing friendly neighbourhood
“An ideal ageing friendly neighbourhood should be welcoming, walkable, wonderful and warm,” said Dr Belinda Yuen, Research Director of the Lee Li Ming Programme in Ageing Urbanism at the Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities, Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).
Singapore will need more age-friendly neighbourhoods because by 2030, one in four Singaporeans will be aged 65 or older, compared to one in seven today. And more seniors are expected to be living alone as well. Age-friendly neighbourhoods encourage the elderly to venture out, use the spaces around them, and interact with people.
Dr Yuen’s study brought together researchers, architects and policy makers from health, and planning and design fields to understand how our built environment affects the elderly. Carried out from 2017 to 2019, the study’s findings led to various prototypes being tested in real life.
One of the prototypes is at Hong Kah North where seniors had expressed fears of falling down but took a riskier walking route along the main road — because they were disoriented by the monotony of HDB void decks. So, way-finding motifs with block numbers were painted along the pillars of void decks and sheltered walkways to help them navigate more confidently on safer pathways. Yio Chu Kang town has taken up the idea and will paint vibrant colours and bigger block numbers on apartment blocks by 2025. Other age-friendly enhancements include sheltered walkways, levelled ground, anti-slip tiles, and assistive grab bars on slopes for people using mobility devices. Yio Chu Kang aims to be the first town in Singapore to have age and dementia-friendly features across all HDB and private residential areas.
Measures like these are all part of Singapore’s continued efforts to be a place we can all age gracefully, in the safe and familiar surroundings of our home. #ShapingOurCity
📷: I Feel Young SG via MOH