Postgraduate Profiles

Mariana Atkins

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Thesis: Spatial planning for lifelong community living: an integrated approach

The aim of the project is to provide a deeper understanding of how people’s needs (housing, mobility, service and social) change through time and to examine how Perth’s housing and service delivery models are responding to this. This study will investigate the interface between housing, community and changing needs as people age across different socio-economic and cultural groups. The thesis will examine to what extent the current spatial planning model in Perth provides sufficient housing choice and addresses the state policy aims of a more compact and connected urban form which promotes active ageing, ageing in place and fosters age-friendly communities. This project will look at whether alternative housing models and typologies are needed based around community living catering for the needs of people of all ages and socio-economic groups.

In particular this study will:

• Determine the spatial distribution of the ageing landscape in Perth and identify areas which are, and will be, experiencing concentrations of ageing in place.

• Explore the needs (housing, mobility, service and social) of older adults in different geographic locations.

• Examine the drivers of housing delivery and supply and how these affect choices available for an older demographic.

• Examine local, national and international best practice case studies of successful age-friendly communities.

• Conceptualise an alternative model for creating age-friendly communities.

Why my research is important

As the population of Perth grows, and the age and household profiles change, how is spatial planning addressing the current and future housing and service needs? How age-friendly are the outcomes?

Population ageing is a world-wide phenomenon which is becoming a matter of policy priority for most industrialised nations. People’s experience of ageing is context and space specific; however, there is consensus that encouraging active ageing - which is defined as the ability for people to participate physically, socially and economically within their communities as they age - is a universal goal. How to facilitate this in a way which creates age-friendly communities and cities is becoming a critical challenge for governments and communities around the world.

In recent years in many neo-liberal economies there has been a shift away from the State providing institutionalised care, to the promotion of ageing in place approaches, which are seen to be in the interests of both older people- by encouraging independence, health and wellbeing - as well as the State by reducing the economic burden of the ageing society. However, how successful is this in delivering active ageing outcomes across different communities and neighbourhoods?

This study will address these challenges by focussing on Perth as a case study of a low-density, medium-sized, post-industrial city. The research will investigate the interface between housing, community and people’s changing needs as they age and it will explore to what extent the current housing and service supply model in Perth provides sufficient housing choice and age-friendly outcomes. By adopting a holistic approach this research will examine whether new models of housing and service delivery are needed which accommodate ageing in place and lead to age-friendly communities for all ages.


Feb 2013

Aug 2016