Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-7635

Article | Open Access

Ageing in Suburban Neighbourhoods: Planning, Densities and Place Assessment

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Abstract:  The article examines the environmental qualities perceived by ageing populations in suburban low-density and car-oriented neighbourhoods in comparison to more dense and central areas. The study focuses on Nicosia, Cyprus, a city that suffers from extended sprawl and car dependency in almost every urban district. The aim of the article is to investigate how older adults perceive and evaluate their place of residence and if this assessment relates to the suburban or the city centre profile of their neighbourhoods. For this reason, the study takes five residential districts, two central and three suburban areas, as case studies. Each of the selected residential districts performs differently in terms of percentage of the population over the age of 65; scale and street layout; adequacy in supporting land uses; building density; distance from the city centre and public space availability and condition. The almost exclusive use of private cars, as the main transportation mode is a common feature of all older adults interviewed in these areas. The older adults’ perceptions of place are assessed through the Place Standard (PS), a simple recently awarded framework which structures conversations about place in regard to its physical elements as well as its social composition. PS is used as an interview tool, which allows the mapping/visualization of qualitative data. Qualitative in-depth interviews conclude to an evaluation of fourteen aspects that outline a residential district profile from mobility to green and urban image attractiveness, and from facilities to social contact and safety, covering almost every aspect of daily life. The article concludes that the neighbourhood assessment from older residents varies depending on the nature of the suburban neighbourhood. Density, layout and distance from the city centre matter according to the participants’ evaluation and there is a clear preference towards suburban low-density areas.

Keywords:  ageing; place standard; liveable neighbourhood; suburban development; urban densities; urban sprawl


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© Byron Ioannou. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.