PRA Seminar Series – Theodora Bowering on Ageing and the city: older people’s everyday mobility and place attachment on East London
November 21 @ 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
Theodora Bowering is a PhD candidate in the Centre for Urban Conflict Studies, Department of Architecture at the University of Cambridge
Ageing and the city: older people’s everyday mobility and place attachment in East London
Ageing is a heterogeneous process, key aspects of which are played out in the civic spaces of cities. In their everyday routines older people inhabit, traverse, observe, avoid and contest civic sites – streets, transport infrastructures, markets, community centres – assembling their own personal territories and networks. Readings of these assemblages offer insights into the existing spatial, temporal and social accessibility of civic spaces for older people. This research argues that age should be engages in its urban and spatial dimensions and that older people need to be included in discussions of marginalisation in cities. A questioning of age as a factor of marginality in urban studies opens update debates on spaces and practices of exclusion, isolation, loneliness and fear, as well as mobility, visibility and memory, that link with ageing studies. While ageing studies address the complexities of ageing and point to the importance of urban environments, this research is yet to be properly connected to and critiqued within urban and architectural disciplines. These disciplines offer a unique contribution and challenge to ageing and urban debates through concrete empirical analyse of space that act to ground the abstract in descriptions of everyday physical places. Along with empirical ethnography and spacial mappings of the London Borough of Newham, this research reveals how ordinary urban spaces are transformed through their quotidian occupation into civic places. They then demonstrate how fundamental these places are to older people, especially when vulnerable, and how they impact their ability to resist their marginalisation and be a part of the city.