Towards socio-spatial welfare From (health)care housing to housing with care

  • Wendy van Kessel Wendy van Kessel

Driven by an aging society, the healthcare system is changing. With decentralizing governmental policies – where care responsibilities are transferred to local governments and to health insurers – the welfare state is transforming to ‘welfare cities’. This systematic change has far reaching consequences for elderly, and must be addressed at a strategic level. The most significant change is that elderly have to stay ‘longer at home’, in other words have to be more self-reliant. In this study, I have explored what ‘living at home longer’ means, with particular attention to the influence of spatial elements on the increase of self-reliance. The study finds that a sufficient level of facilities and a supportive social network are key to an age-friendly city when corresponding to the mobility constraints of senior citizens. However, as neighbourhoods differ in their social and spatial structure, demography changes over time, and technologies evolve, a ‘one size fits all’ approach will not work. Instead, a number of tools are developed by which urban planners and architects can analyse the interventions required to make a neighbourhood age-friendly. The result is the provision of a good welfare system on a local level, and a supporting environment on the level of the home.


Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.


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