‘This Is A Good Place To Grow Old’: A Narrative Analysis Of Ageing In And Out Of Place
University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
In the context of an ageing society, there is increasing attention on how people navigate and make sense of particular places through the ageing process (van Dijk et al, 2015; Van Hees et al 2017; Kearns and Coleman 2017). Ageing, coupled with bereavement and diminishing support networks, may impact on people’s sense of belonging in local places (May 2011). Of course places are constructed and dynamic; continually made and remade over time (Massey, 2004). As well as perceived changes, there may also be material changes which impact on long term residents especially older people.
For migrants, ageing may result in additional challenges. For those who arrived in Britain to work, ageing and retirement may raise questions about return to the country of origin (Ryan, 2004). But return is not necessarily easy as ‘home places’ also change over time and migrants may no longer feel a sense of belonging there – feeling ‘out of place’ (Valentine and Sporton, 2009).
In this paper, drawing on new data from a large UK ESRC-funded project (Sustainable Care 2017-21), we explore how older, retired migrants narrate their experiences of ageing in and out of place. We focus on rich qualitative interviews with Irish, African Caribbean and Polish migrants in London and South Yorkshire. We examine their relationships to places through intersections of age, gender, ethnicity and class, and across different scales – local neighbourhoods, towns, cities and transnationally. In so doing, we contribute to understanding older people as active agents in place-making, while also paying attention to changing materialities of place through time.
Ageing, Housing Affordability and Spatial Age Segregation: Evidence from the UK
1University of St Andrews, United Kingdom; 2University of St Andrews, United Kingdom
In most post-industrial ageing societies, the patterns of spatial age differentiation that exist are comparatively recent phenomena. In the UK, the current policy focus on ‘ageing in place’ highlights one possible mechanism expected to increase spatial age segregation. However, the potential consequences of the so-called “affordability crisis” –the fact that both owner-occupied and private rental housing have become increasingly unaffordable– have so far been neglected. Building on previous work, this paper examines trends in spatial age segregation and provides evidence of the impact of housing unaffordability on the patterns of intergenerational space within the UK context. Combining harmonised data from 2001 and 2011 Censuses as well as rich housing market data (property sales and rentals) and income estimates for small areas, we first investigate whether, and to what degree, communities along the urban-rural continuum are becoming residentially segregated by age. Second, we study whether residential age segregation between older (aged 65 and over) and younger (aged 25-44) adults is connected to housing (dis)advantage. The results confirm an increasing trend in the age differentiation of urban and rural communities over time, and indicate that areas with higher unaffordability levels are becoming more residentially age segregated. This pattern of reduced spatial interaction between older and younger adults highlights that there is an important socioeconomic dimension to spatial age segregation. Our findings reveal that housing unaffordability is partly responsible for the lower spatial interaction between older and younger adults. Thus, we argue in this paper that a fundamental shift is needed among the group of actors who are involved in place-making and place-shaping of different communities to avoid the emergence of generationed spaces in contemporary ageing societies.
Nostalgia, Solastalgia and Biographical Contextualisation: Perspectives on the (Post)Socialist Social Change Among Older Czechs
Masaryk University, Faculty of Social Studies, Czech Republic
There is long-term interest within environmental sociology in the place attachment, belonging and residential satisfaction among older adults in the context of social change. In this paper, I take a closer look into how these concepts are related to theories of commemoration, especially to the notion of nostalgia and solastalgia, and I will elaborate their usefulness, also noting the pitfalls of interpreting data from qualitative interviews on perceptions of change among older adults. I call for a fine-grained distinction between theoretical depictions of ‘contentment’ among older residents, offering the concept of ‘biographical contextualisation’ in order to better understand the evaluation of social change over a long-term perspective. To illustrate the application of the concept, the paper draws on empirical data from two projects on quality of life among older adults: those living in the biggest towns (N=36) and in rural areas (N=21) in the Czech Republic.
Complexity and Contradiction: A Study of an Ageing Population’s Experience of Urban Space.
Queens University Belfast, United Kingdom
The nebulous of street patterns and urban forms that abound modern cities tends to be vehicle-centric, or steered by a neo-urbanism tradition which sets pedestrian against vehicular in a struggle for supremacy (Marshall, 2005, pp. 41-48). This study will consider how the urban environment, its spatial semiotics and patterns provide the platform for engagement for an ageing population in the communities they reside. Furthermore, growing older requires a flexible and evolving environment making seniors more vulnerable to the effects of their urban setting on health and daily lives (Beard and Petitot, 2010; Kerr et al., 2013; Ribeiro et al., 2013). The research model intends to capture the collective praxis of people who live and actively engage in their urban environments. Moreover, it will explore urban centres along Ireland’s Atlantic corridor, a region on the fringe of Europe with a blend of rural/urban centres under influence from their hinterlands and its dispersed populations. This study will utilise narrative mapping, walking interviews and spatial analytical methodologies. This model is expected to generate a new perspective and new data on how regional and urban/rural policy makers, planners and urban professionals can create and shape urban spaces to meet the needs of an ageing and diverse population.