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Healthy Cities 21st Century

Walkability Assessment for Healthy Ageing Poster Wins At IPH Open Conference

Belfast Healthy Cities took top place in a competition for best poster presentation at the Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH) Open Conference which took place at Titanic Belfast on 14 October.

The poster, which is available to download by clicking this article, features a Walkability Assessment for Healthy Ageing report, which gives an overview of a pilot project which developed an age-friendly assessment tool to gauge how accessible the built environment is for older people, conducted as part of Belfast’s application to be a WHO Age-friendly city.

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The pilot project, carried out in consultation with the Healthy Ageing Strategic Partnership (HASP), demonstrates a way of engaging with older people to gain their opinions and use their experience and knowledge to progress the city towards its goal as an age-friendly city. It engaged local older people to assess the walking environment in their area, using a tool developed following a review of relevant models and literature.

The report presents the tool and outlines findings from the project, including priority elements identified by older people as essential for an environment that encourages and supports older people to remain active. Recommendations from the report outline key areas for action, including suggestions for how local government can involve older people in the design of their city.

Engagement with older people is important to ensure needs are understood and older people’s knowledge and lay expertise utilised. Evidence also shows that systematic assessment of the environment forms part of effective decision making. The next step for this project is to explore options for validating the tool, through engagement with academic partners and further piloting. It is intended this will create a tool for use across Belfast as an age-friendly city.