Friday, May 15, 2015

What defines a city's suitability for older people. Answer - the proximity to toilet paper

I loved the idea that the proximity to toilet paper was an important factor in the suitability of a city for older people. Basic stuff but very true. I wish I had come up with the quote but I cannot take the credit.

I think we often get too serious and 'precious' when we talk about making cities 'age friendly'. As this article states, when cities make an effort to accommodate “ageing in place,” they typically end up with designs that benefit younger residents too.

Good design and consistency of design is universal. The difference about the young is that they are more resilient and capable at rectifying and living with design mistakes. Older people are not.

The reason why Apple consistently does well in our tests of providing an age neutral customer experience is not that it has sat down and decided that it is what it want to do but because it is obsessive about getting every single customer touchpoint right. Exactly the same applies with cities.

Now coming back to the instance of toilet paper, there are a lot of things that happen as you age that can create 'challenges' but I suspect getting around a city with a young child can be equally as difficult and access to a tad more toilet paper might be a benefit.

Those of you who ever travel through London on the subway/underground will know the sights you see of young people attempting to heave massive travel cases up flights of stairs. Here you have a transport system that as designed for about a tenth of the travellers and people carrying a small case rather than attempting to move all of their worldly possessions.

Cities can a nightmare for all ages. Dick Stroud

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