Published On: Wed, May 4th, 2016

European Commissions’ Neighbourhoods of the Future aims to tackle demographic change

age friendly homesThe European Commission has initiated a consultative exercise with a range of stakeholders through  a series of interconnected open innovation workshops called Neighbourhoods of the Future, which aim to take a fresh look at age friendly homes and communities as a means of tackling demographic change head-on.    

Kicking off in London on 11th and 12th May, supported by Innovate UK, NatWest and Lansons,  these  ‘meeting of minds’ events will address topics as diverse as the changing aspirations of a growing ageing population, the emerging possibilities that smart homes and age friendly cities bring, as well as the role for alternative finance to drive new thinking in age-friendly housing and health.

Europe’s population is ageing rapidly, which is a major challenge for our health and care systems, but also a significant economic and social opportunity.

Baby Boomers are retiring in a world surrounded with sensors, robotics and Internet of Things (IoT). How can these innovations be best employed to improve quality of life and sustain independent living? To address this challenge and opportunity, we have brought together a selection of Europe’s brightest and most unconventional minds operating across multi-disciplinary domains and sectors in a collaborative effort to move care away from institutions to smart(er) homes that are fit for purpose.

Some of the questions we will examine include: Is it possible to create a new model of care where innovative products and services are made available to users in exchange for anonymised access to data? What is the one thing each of us could do to make IoT enabled smart homes happen sooner rather than later?

This project is part of a Europe wide consultation process orchestrated by the Agile Ageing Alliance under the direction of the UK’s Creative Skills for Life and Utrecht University which aims to draw together relevant societal actors and economic sectors in a  pan-European movement that acknowledges and leverages the opportunities brought about by demographic change and innovation.

Output of the events will inform development of a European Reference Framework for Age-friendly Housing under the auspices of European Commission (DG Connect and DG Grow) , specifically addressing what it should look like and how it could be governed (e.g. certification), including:

  • Defining what age friendly mean in more measurable terms from the ICT and construction perspective
  • Leveraging the necessary investments for age friendly  home adaptation and construction
  • Developing clear business models through scalable markets across Europe
  • Informing policy from 2017 which will likely impact on UK legislation


European Reference Framework on Age-Friendly Housing

Europe’s population is ageing rapidly, which is a major challenge for our health and care systems.  The majority of the population prefer to continue living in their own homes as they start experiencing age related impairments, rather than going into institutional care settings, which is also good for the sustainability of health and care systems where there is a shift towards homes based care. However, more than 75% of the current housing stock does not meet criteria for age-friendliness in terms of infrastructure (such as Internet of Things) supporting innovative solutions for assisted living and more general accessibility requirements.

The European Commission organised an exploratory workshop in 2015 to take stock of the issue and explore what actions could be undertaken at EU level: .

The outputs from the Neighborhoods of the Future events in 2016 will inform the development of a European Reference Framework for Age-friendly Housing, which must make clear:

  • How corporates, SMEs, entrepreneurs, citizens, research institutes and other public, private and 3rd sector stakeholders can work together to facilitative innovation and establish disruptive and sustainable new business models
  • How citizens can be encouraged to invest in age-friendly digital homes, based on sound evidence about agile ageing solutions that are healthy, creative, enriching and socially engaging
  • What guidelines/standards need to be developed to allow effective solutions to be transferred across and beyond the European Union and which can stimulate a scalable European market of relevant products and services

The Neighbourhood of the Future events are taking place throughout Europe in 2016:

  • 11/12 May, London with NatWest/Innovate UK/Lansons
  • 16. June, Bilbao with Tecnalia (Spain)
  • June, Copenhagen with CIIG (date to be confirmed)
  • 15th September with Utrecht University (date subject to confirmation)
  • 26-28 September, AAL Forum
  • 10 October, Berlin (with Ingo Rollwagen, further partners to be confirmed)
  • 17 October, Belgium with Microsoft (city to be confirmed)
  • 26 October, Warsaw with Polish Silver Economy Institute (Poland)

For details please email: