Technology for more age-friendly cities

3 October 2023
Tecnología para ciudades más amigables con personas mayores

“We develop digital tools that contribute to age-friendly urban planning”

Faced with the problem of an ageing population, technology provides an opportunity to facilitate decision-making on co-designing and developing more age-friendly cities

TECNALIA has developed digital tools to facilitate data-driven decision-making to improve cities through urban planning. These digital solutions have been developed as part of the European UrbanAge initiative and are being implemented in the pilot cities of Santander, Helsinki and Flanders.

It is estimated that people over the age of 65 will account for 27% of the population in Europe by 2040, up from 20% in 2018. This trend means that cities need to be adapted to the needs of the older population in order to promote active, healthy and self-sufficient ageing.

There are many variables to be taken into account when addressing inclusive, accessible urban planning adapted to the needs of everyone.

Digital twin of the city

After carrying out co-creation processes which included the needs of the elderly and municipal technicians, TECNALIA developed a digital twin of Santander. This digital twin brings together various data such as buildings, health centres, green areas, street furniture, public toilets and mechanical ramps, in such a way as to provide integrated information on the city which is easy to view.

TECNALIA also developed a friendliness index that compares the degree of user-friendliness of different neighbourhoods in a city. This indicator helps to decide which services and infrastructure should be built in each neighbourhood.

Simulator of the impact of future actions

The tool also simulates the impact that future urban planning actions may have on the friendliness of the city. Consequently, technologies such as artificial intelligence algorithms and big data will allow urban planners to anticipate the effects of measures to be implemented.

In turn, public administrations and urban planning departments will have a comprehensive tool that integrates a large number of variables to enable them to make informed decisions. The aim of the UrbanAge initiative is to replicate the process and developments in other European cities.