Design the city for Elderlies

Author: Prof Emanuele Naboni STSM Period: 2021-06-04 – 2021-06-28


Hosting institution:CITYTHINKING

From ITC: Yes


The purpose of the proposed STSM was to study the integration of targets and design for elderlies in Urban Design to gain insights and knowledge that should generate a critical «framework of the application of design for elderlies at the level of planning techniques».

The main purpose was framed according to specific operational sub-purposes:
1) find innovative solutions among CITYTHINKING portfolio to address built and natural environments challenges, and therefore contribute to the achievement of an elderlyfriendly environment.
2) collaborate closely with the specialists at CITYTHINKING (a large multidisciplinary team) that have helped with the data analysis processing and interpretation.
3) have access to concrete data to allow measuring and quantitatively / qualitatively observe the ability of solutions to achieve a practical an effectice approach for seniors wellbeing.


1) The research team conducted an initial literature review. That, has enabled the definition of relevant directions and criteria for regenerative design at the city scale. For this preliminary phase, driving research questions defined the city and buildings scale framework goal and scope, defined the system boundaries and provided a glossary of concepts related to designing.

2) Following a literature review, the research continued with the analysis and synthesis of the smart cities’ solutions that CITHINKING implemented in augmenting urban health, and the elderly health. This allowed the team to identify and characterize their existing smart city
projects in light of elderly issues.

3) A matrix was created to study the underpinning methodology guiding this research, categorizing environmental performance and relevance to seniors. The matrix includes data of different types (concerning the climate, ecosystem, flows of materials, emissions, human health, and individual physiological parameters, POE) and supported the interdisciplinary evaluation of performance for elderlies across scales.

4) The team selected jointly best practices, i.e., examples of successfully implemented solutions – relevant aspects to consider, lessons learned, and how to replicate. The specific focus was on the technology used by CITYTHINKING the BEM tools, the use of data measured in the city, and the application of artificial intelligence.


The STSM enlarged the focus to the overarching structure of the city fabric that creates a net of mobility infrastructures, homes, and outdoor spaces that are friendly to seniors.

The work was structured according to the following topics:

1. Analyze the Design Cities’ climate, energy, and nature to positively influence seniors

2. Framing Solutions for Human Health and Well-being, and specifically seniors’ well-being

The work highlighted:

a) The benefit of an elderly centered and systemic Urban Planning approach

b) How the achievement of many elderlies’ related criteria is influenced by city-wide strategic planning for mobility, ecology, outdoor and indoor comfort)

In conclusion, the work in Seville highlighted that a city designed for elderlies should be primarely sustained a synergistic relationship between climate, the ecosystems.

The data generated will be of public domain via the mentioned publication, thus being a valuable base for third parties interested in developing similar strategies.


CITYTHINKING invites Emanuele Naboni to the following visit related to collaborate on the STSM topic for application in a design competition in Seville.

After the visit, A joint journal article will be prepared on the results and submitted to a highly reputable refereed international conference, or a journal, such as Sustainable Cities and Society (Elsevier), Cities (Elsevier), or Frontiers of Architectural Research (Elsevier). It is intended that the visitor will spend some time completing the work by the end of 2021.