The physical environment is emerging as an important determinant of individual health outcomes. With growing evidence to suggest that health in later life is particularly sensitive to environmental characteristics, this link is of increasing interest to the ageing populations of the developed world. Much attention has focused to date on developing mechanisms for successful ageing in place. The term 'ageing in place' has traditionally referred to individuals growing old in their own homes with an emphasis on modification of the home environment to compensate for the limitations associated with ageing. It is no surprise that research consistently indicates the majority of older people prefer to age in familiar surroundings. It is also no surprise that ageing in place represents a more economically, environmentally and socially sustainable option to institutionalised care. However, the research agenda must be broadened beyond the immediate home environment if all the variables associated with successful ageing in place are to be thoroughly appreciated. This paper commences with an examination of the key concepts associated with ageing, sustainable development and environmental assessment. The key themes in a range of established sustainable urban environment assessment tools are then examined. The examination reveals that the ageing in place concept has not been adequately integrated into the assessment process. The paper argues that ageing in place is a critical factor in urban sustainability, and concludes with a conceptual model for the integration of ageing in place into the assessment of sustainable urban environments.
International Conference on Whole Life Urban Sustainability and its Assessment. SUE-MoT Conference 2007 (Glasgow, Scotland 27-29 June, 2007) p. 381-395