Grosvenor Group calls for age-friendly approach to city development

Development activity within cities needs to adapt significantly to the realities of a rapidly ageing population, according to a new report published today by international property group Grosvenor Group.

Development activity within cities needs to adapt significantly to the realities of a rapidly ageing population, according to a new report published today by international property group Grosvenor Group (Grosvenor). The company is calling for more far-sighted action from the property industry as well as policy-makers to ensure that our cities become more age-friendly.

The proportion of over 65’s in OECD countries will rise from 16% to 25% by 2045, whilst the proportion of under 20’s will shrink from 24% to 21% in the same time period. This equates to an additional 146 million over 65’s in OECD countries by 2045, or an extra 15,000 people reaching retirement age each day for the next 30 years. The report, entitled ‘Silver cities: planning for an ageing population’, highlights the impact that this demographic shift will have on the social and physical fabric of cities.

Graham Parry, Research Director, Grosvenor Group, said: “An ageing population presents huge challenges to the way our cities function. It’s not just a question of mobility, which is what most people immediately tend to think of, it’s also about how we make homes, offices and retail spaces more suited to the needs of an elderly population.

“Evidence shows that most elderly people don’t move house in their later years, largely because of a lack of options within their communities, where they have their roots and networks. Yet, if the right products and incentives were available, more ‘last-time buyers’ would down-size from typically larger family homes to more suitable accommodation, in the process also making more family homes available for younger generations.”

Through the perspective of four very different global cities that share the challenge of an ageing population - London, Hong Kong, Madrid and Vancouver – the report provides a snapshot of how the implications of an ageing population are being addressed, if at all, and highlights a number of potential solutions, which may help bring age-friendly development principles into the mainstream. These include:

  • Introducing incentives to encourage older home-owners to downsize and in turn relieve pressure on cities to provide more family homes.
  • Developing homes that fill the gap between the family home and senior housing. Current generations of elderly people are typically far more active than their predecessors and want to be around like-minded people, but do not want or necessarily need to go into a care facility.
  • Extending minimum standards that already exist to provide for those with a disability to include the elderly.
  • New large-scale land developments in some cities are now required to incorporate a percentage of social housing and this could be adapted to include an allocation for older people.
  • Encouraging local councils to zone areas for senior assisted living and care homes.

Commenting on the report, Peter Vernon, Executive Director Grosvenor Group, said: “How cities evolve to meet the needs of their ageing populations is a serious challenge and a defining one for generations to come. We see no single solution but instead envisage the need for a range of integrated approaches to suit local requirements.

“While there are many current and pressing city development needs, it’s essential that we don’t lose sight of the major changes that ageing populations will trigger in just a few years. As a result, we urge the wider property industry, central and city governance and other relevant stakeholders to work together to recognise this important issue and prioritise its resolution.”

The online report can be found here

A pdf of the full report can be found here

For more information contact:
Sorrel Basher, Press Office
020 7312 7008

Notes to Editors

Grosvenor Group

Grosvenor Group is one of the world's largest privately-owned property businesses. We develop, manage and invest in property in more than 60 cities globally.

We aim to diversify our property portfolio by geography, sector, activity, currency and management teams through our four regional Operating Companies and our Indirect Investment business.

Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, Grosvenor Americas, Grosvenor Asia Pacific and Grosvenor Europe operate in a devolved structure model, each being responsible for its own property strategy founded on local experience and assessment of market opportunities.

Grosvenor Group's Indirect Investment business is tasked with further diversifying Grosvenor's property related interests beyond the expertise and strategies of our four regional Operating Companies. It invests Grosvenor's capital in Africa, Australia, Europe, South America and the USA.

We create, invest in and manage properties and places applying rigorous financial discipline to achieve commercial success. But we do so with the aim of making a lasting contribution, today and for future generations, to the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the urban communities we are part of and on which our own success is dependent. It is what we call our Living cities philosophy, which guides our activities to help foster thriving places which reflect the spirit of individual cities, ultimately contributing to their enduring success.

Part of the Grosvenor Estate

We are one of three constituent parts of the Grosvenor Estate which encompasses all the activities of the Grosvenor family. The others are:

  • Wheatsheaf Group Limited, which operates and invests in companies in the food and agri-business sectors that contribute long-term solutions to meet the food production demands of a changing global population; and,
  • the Family Investment Office, which manages the Grosvenor Family’s other interests including securities investments, rural estates in the UK and Spain, The Westminster Foundation, a fine art collection and a family archive.

Grosvenor Group’s Shareholders are the seven Trustees of the Grosvenor Estate, including the Duke of Westminster. They hold the shares in the business for the benefit of current and future members of the Grosvenor family.

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