Older people's use of unfamiliar space.

Project overview

As town and city landscapes change through regeneration or decline, the use of space changes and previously familiar places may become unfamiliar.

Unfamiliarity can lead to insecurity, disorientation, fear over personal safety and social exclusion. Interest in older people’s use and perception of space and the built environment is growing, particularly among spatial planners.

However, there is little knowledge on what influences someone’s ability to cope with unfamiliar environments and the environmental triggers that characterise places as threatening. Consequently planning decisions are not based on sound evidence.

To enable older people to navigate environments which are unfamiliar, spatial information tools can be designed for the benefit of older people as pedestrians, drivers and public transport users. Such a tool is useful for planners in designing spaces that older people can use.


Older people's use of unfamiliar space (OPUS) (PDF, 1003KB)

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Further information

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