24 November 2020. The Government of Basque Country (Spain) and UN-Habitat organized the Expert Group Meeting "Cities for all: Aging and Inclusion", within the framework of Euskal Hiria 2020. Different national and international experts and institutional representatives discussed good practices, projects and urban policies focused on improving the living conditions of the elderly in cities.
By 2050, 37% of the population in Spain will be 65 years or older, compared to the current 20%. This implies a transition that inevitably affects the configuration of cities and forces us to rethink how cities should be understood, designed and managed to effectively integrate and include all social groups, including older people.
For this reason, the global Expert Group Meeting on "Cities for all: Aging and Inclusion", discussed urban policies focused on improving the living conditions of older people in cities, and shared a set of projects identified as good practices around four key aspects: housing, mobility, public space and health care.
The Meeting took place on November 23 and 24 and was attended by around 200 experts from around the world. It was celebrated within the framework of the EUSKAL HIRIA KONGRESUA 2020.
Iñaki Arriola, Counsellor of Territorial Planning, Housing and Transport of the Basque Country, highlighted in the opening session “to address this phenomenon from multiple approaches and a comprehensive treatment”, and pointed out that this topic is mainstreamed in the Urban Agenda - Bultzatu 2050, on issues such as the city model, health, housing, care facilities, the quality of public space, commerce and local services.
In addition to the Counsellor, the opening was attended by Arantza Leturiondo Aranzamendi, Vice-Counsellor of Territorial Planning of the Government of Basque Country, the Basque Journalist Iñaki Gabilondo, the Associate Professor of Gerontology at the University of Helsinki and the Research Network on Ageing in Europe, Kathrin Komp, and Shipra Narang-Suri, Head of UN-Habitat's Urban Practices Division.
In her intervention, Ms Narang-Suri highlighted that there is ample empirical evidence that shows that the morphology of cities has direct consequences for the population, and particularly for vulnerable groups -among which are older people- in terms of health, access to services, equity, social integration, safety, provision of opportunities and resilience, and that therefore, the way in which cities are planned, designed and managed will also determine the opportunities for inclusion.
During the sessions participated experts from UN-Habitat, the regional and local government of the Basque Country, international organizations, universities, non-profit organizations, international networks and platforms, research groups, among others.