NEWS - 2023/01/17

Elderly on Track, a Design Guide for Participatory Workshops and Elderly Walking Routes

The Elderly on Track project was an initiative that established and analysed safe, healthy, and comfortable walking routes for elderly people in Rubí (Spain), which launched last September in 2022. The project was funded by the EIT Community New European Bauhaus and supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union.

Together with the Rubí City Council as a partner, two workshops were held with the elderly community of the area, who provided valuable information on their walking needs and the quality of the city’s urban environment which resulted in a graphic report. The focus of the workshops was bottom-up and participatory, basing the project on the elderly community’s views when aiming to address their issues and propose potential solutions.

The first workshop took place in September and the participants defined different routes according to their needs and possibilities, taking into account parameters such as safety, comfort and the usefulness of the walking routes. Significant valuable information was gathered about the conditions of Rubí’s streets and the participants were eagerly engaged in the activity.

The second workshop was held in mid-October and the different groups had to walk the routes defined in the previous workshop, evaluate them and share their opinions. Three groups, of approximately 15 people each, actively participated and provided their feedback. Moreover, the walks were documented with photos and videos of the experience, the feedback and the most challenging areas.

The parameters that were measured on the routes were those related to safety (crime, traffic, bike lanes), comfort (type of surface, accessibility, street furniture) and environmental quality (atmosphere, noise pollution, heat, cold, etc.) with three different levels: low, moderated and high. The elderly people used them to help guide their analysis. The results of the second workshop were three tested walking routes in Rubí for the elderly. Although the routes were satisfactory in general, they were also critically analysed with room for improvement in the future. This analysis also allowed to gather a group of desired parameters for satisfactory elderly walking routes.

With all the information collected through the two workshops, a freely accessible graphic report was elaborated with the aim to help those who want to develop participatory workshops with elderly people – about the same or different topics – and design walking routes for the elderly. This report is useful – partially or fully – for city councils, architecture and urban planning firms, and other organisations that work with the built environment or active mobility.

Elderly on Track has the socially responsible objective of being replicable in other cities, locally and internationally. When other cities recreate the participatory workshops and design walking routes with the set recommendations, elderly active mobility will be improved through citizen engagement – making the elderly’s walking experience safer, healthier and more comfortable.

You can access the full report here.