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Contribution of older urban residents


UN-Habitat’s biennial World Urban Forum (WUF9) took place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia this year from 7-13 February.  Following 18 months after Habitat III, its theme appropriately focused on “Cities 2030, Cities for All”.
I participated as the co-chair of the General Assembly of Partners (GAP) official civil society group for older persons. Given very limited resources, we organized several panels with others: an official 2 hour Older Persons Roundtable; one with GAP Persons with Disabilities on accessibility and universal design; another representing older women as part of the Women’s Assembly; a fourth contributing the civil society perspective to one by Business & Industry; and a fifth organized by City Space Architecture focusing on the importance of safe and accessible public spaces which can reduce isolation faced by many older urban residents.
Urbanisation and population ageing are century defining demographic trends. Over 500 million urban residents are older people. Yet cities everywhere are failing to address the changes brought about by global population ageing with increasing inequality and insecurity. Physical, social and economic barriers prevent older people in particular from fully enjoying their rights and living in dignity and safety in cities. 
By 2030, older persons are expected to account for over 25 percent of the population in Europe and northern America, 17 percent in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and six percent in Africa. Over half the ageing population, 289 million, currently lives in low- and middle-income countries, and is increasingly concentrated in urban areas. Older persons are the fastest growing population group globally, expected to reach 22% by 2050 (UNDESA 2017). In 2015, 58% of the world’s people aged 60 and over resided in urban areas, up from 50% in 2000.

Pages:187 to 192
Section: Reports from 9th World Urban Forum
How to Cite
Kline, K. (2018) “Contribution of older urban residents”, The Journal of Public Space, 3(1), pp. 187-192. doi:

Author Biography

General Assembly of Partners Older Persons Partner Constituent Group
United States United States

Katherine Kline, former diplomat, arts administrator, ESL teacher and documentary producer and distributor, has worked for over 40 years with and for international organizations. She has been on numerous non-profit boards including UNA-NY and as part of the Executive Committee of the NGO Committee on Ageing, New York.
Dr. Kline has served for more than seven years as a United Nations volunteer NGO representative working to secure rights for older persons. She currently is co-chair of the General Assembly of Partner’s Older Persons Partner Constituent Group, a civil society coalition working with UN Habitat to ensure the inclusion of ageing and older people in the New Urban Agenda.
She received a B.A. in India Areas Studies from the School of International Service, American University and a Ph.D. in Organizational Change from the Union Institute.

Open Access Journal
ISSN 2206-9658