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Age-friendly places: evidence pack


This report provides an overview of existing research regarding the creation of age-friendly places across urban and rural Scotland, with a particular focus on housing. It sets out good practice design principles associated with age-friendly housing, and the challenges of delivering this at scale. It argues that there is a need to develop demonstrator sites in urban and rural Scotland, and outlines the important features that such sites should have. The report also compares Scotland’s ageing population with that of the UK and the rest of the world. It also looks at data on the Scottish housing market, including rates of home ownership, housing supply and demand, and the availability of appropriate and adaptable housing stock. It considers some of the options for people to move into houses more appropriate for their needs, and outlines some innovations in the housing market, including off-site manufacture, automation and digital manufacture, and the build-to-rent business model. Finally, it considers the economic well-being and employment rates of older people, the economic impact of poor health, and the development of products and technologies to support people as they age.


The study involved a review of existing research and statistics. It also contains case studies of good practice.


The study reports that 0.97 million people in Scotland are aged 65+ (1 in 6 of the population), and that this is projected to rise to 1.47 million (1 in 4) by 2041. Overall, research shows that the 60+ age group is accumulating wealth and has increasing spending power. Home ownership in this group is high – with 64% of people in the 60+ age group in Scotland owning their homes outright and have no mortgage debt. The five key challenges to developing age-friendly housing in Scotland were found to be: a complex and fragmented market that needs to be developed and structured – also with limited buy-in from customers and little public investment; a lack of awareness of the products and services available; a lack of inspiring good practice to demonstrate what age-friendly housing could look like; very few examples of the required multi-sector or multi-agency collaborations; and the lack of clear business models for such collaborations to follow. The key features of a successful demonstrator project were considered to be: the engagement of stakeholders such as the Scottish Government, local authorities, housing associations, etc; a model that enables the construction of flexible and adaptable housing as well as retrofitting existing homes and care facilities; and solutions for both urban and rural communities. It reports that there is well-established guidance for the design of new age-friendly buildings and retrofitting existing housing stock, but notes that the UK has the oldest housing stock in Europe, and a fifth of dwellings occupied by those aged 65+ lack key accessibility features. It notes that there is a significant cost driver to develop innovations in the delivery of health and social care services to older people at home or in their communities and, in particular, to develop measures that can reduce the risk of falls for older people.


The report does not make any specific recommendations.

Author Scottish Enteprise
Published Year 2018
Report Type Research
  • Sectors
    Construction, Digital markets and enabling technologies, Food and drink