UrbanLife+ Research Project For Senior-Friendly Cities Reaches Next Phase

Susanne Wallrafen (Sozial-Holding GmbH), Heiko Lohre (Topcon Deutschland Positioning GmbH), Björn Sommer (Projektleiter UrbanLife+ von Drees & Sommer)

A pioneering city planning project is underway in the German city of Mönchengladbach: the UrbanLife+ research project will make everyday life easier for senior citizens with the aid of technical solutions in public spaces. Drees & Sommer has been collaborating with other project partners from the fields of science, social welfare, economics and administrationon realizing this project promoted by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF). The project has now reached the stage where important public-space measurement work can be initiated.

The plan is for Human Technology Interaction to assist seniors to be able to move around the city safely and without hindrance:  benches individually adapted to suit seniors’ requirements. Information spotlights provide orientation for senior citizens. Street lights adjust their strength to suit the visual faculties of passers-by and sensors alert people to danger at street crossings and junctions. The solutions that are being devised in the UrbanLife+ research project for seniors to combat everyday obstacles are as simple as they are ingenious.

The next stage in this intergenerational urban design project – the first major project of its type in Germany – is to carry out a drive-through survey of the public spaces in the Rheindahlen and Haerdterbroich-Pesch city districts of Mönchengladbach. This will be undertaken by geodata experts Topcon. The survey findings are important elements of the Safety Atlas which Drees & Sommer is responsible for drawing up and which will provide city planners in the future with important information as to the requirements of the 65plus generation with regard to public spaces. Once the Mönchengladbach project has been completed at the end of 2020, numerous other cities are expected to benefit from this exciting research project in the Lower Rhine region.

A great deal more information on the project can be found at https://www.urbanlifeplus.de.