Charles B. A. Musselwhite (Aberystwyth University, UK)

Designing Public Space for an Ageing Population

ISBN: 978-1-83982-745-7, eISBN: 978-1-83982-744-0

Publication date: 19 October 2021


Musselwhite, C.B.A. (2021), "Prelims", Designing Public Space for an Ageing Population, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. i-xiii.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021 Charles B. A. Musselwhite. Published under Exclusive Licence by Emerald Publishing Limited

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Designing Public Space for an Ageing Population

Title Page

Designing Public Space for an Ageing Population

Improving Pedestrian Mobility for Older People

Authored by

Charles B. A. Musselwhite

Aberystwyth University, UK

United Kingdom – North America – Japan – India – Malaysia – China

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Howard House, Wagon Lane, Bingley BD16 1WA, UK

First edition 2021

Copyright © 2021 Charles B. A. Musselwhite

Published under Exclusive Licence by Emerald Publishing Limited

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ISBN: 978-1-83982-745-7 (Print)

ISBN: 978-1-83982-744-0 (Online)

ISBN: 978-1-83982-746-4 (Epub)

List of Figures and Tables

Figure 1.1. UK sign ‘warning’ motorists that ‘elderly people’ might be a danger in the local area. This depiction stereotyping older people as being hunched over and in need requires challenging.
Figure 4.1. Street clutter can cause obstructions for older people when walking.
Figure 4.2. This roundabout in Penarth, Wales, UK, has Zebra Crossings on each arm.
Figure 4.3. A complex junction layout in Monaco. It has a central pedestrian refuge and a countdown in the form of an electronic hourglass or sand-timer on the bottom of the red or green man to help people know how long they have left to cross the road.
Figure 4.4. Central refuge doesn't have to be urban in feeling, though this would be better with dropped kerbs and some pavements, it is good to see a natural area breaking up an heavily urban area at a road junction (Menton, France).
Figure 4.5. Unusually, Monaco has a series of street escalators to get people between levels.
Figure 4.6. The pedestrian maps in Bath, in keeping with the heritage background, are pedestrian friendly, so have key buildings on them, are ‘heads-up’ (face the way they are looking), rather than having North represented at the top, and concentric rings to show how long it would take to walk to places.
Figure 4.7. Nice Promenade Anglais. Plenty of traffic free room to walk alongside the beautiful Mediterranean.
Figure 4.8. Water fountain used to demarcate the start and end of Gosport's High Street, Hampshire, England.
Figure 4.9. Trafalgar Square, London, well known large water feature and plaza attracts people of all ages.
Figure 4.10. A water feature in a public space, playful and cooling for all ages. Nice, France.
Figure 4.11. Mystery and intrigue on the unplanned streets of the fishing village of St Ives, England, UK. Now very popular with tourists.
Figure 4.12. The pavement is too small to help create proper community space, Cirencester, England, UK.
Figure 4.13. If space is too open, its can illegible and difficult to define and actually be a barrier to community space as in this example from Gosport, England, UK.
Figure 4.14. Benches don't have to be anything special, as long as they are at the right height. Sometimes they are used just to perch or to place down a shopping bag rather than to sit on.
Figure 4.15. If benches are in places where people may want to rest they should have arm rests to help people ease in and out of the seats.
Figure 4.16. The space is socially non-legible, it is hard to define what you are supposed to do here. Despite the clean lines and neat landscaping, a lack of seats, benches, any differences in height or enclosure make it a difficult space around which to create any community. Cardiff, Wales, UK.
Figure 4.17. Swansea's Castle Square. Cultural aesthetics. Despite having a fountain does not quite fit the context, use and users.
Figure 4.18. Diagram showing how the World Health Organisation view healthy ageing.
Figure 5.1. Overload of signage at the stairs to take people under the platforms.
Figure 5.2. Example of good quality large signage, repeated throughout the station.
Figure 5.3. A travellator in Monaco railway station. The station can be built away from the urban centre when travelators are included to move people from the station to the town. The picture shows two travelators in different directions separated by a central walkway.
Figure 6.1. How different capitals influence older people's mobility as a pedestrian.
Table 3.1. Designing Streets for Older People Based on CABE (2011)Principles.
Table 4.1. Designing Streets Framework.

About the Author

Dr Charles B. A. Musselwhite is an Professor of Psychology at the Aberystwyth University. He has particular research interest in improving public policy and practice around the built environment and transportation taking into account an ageing population, including road user safety in later life, giving up driving and creating age-friendly neighbourhoods and communities. He is currently Co-Director of the Welsh Government funded Centre for Ageing and Dementia Research (CADR) project to bring together research in ageing with policy and practice across Wales, and a transport and health research network to bring together those interested in health and transport research. Charles has authored over 40 peer-reviewed journal articles, 20 book chapters and edited 4 books on these topics. He is Editor-in-Chief for Elsevier's Journal of Transport & Health and on the editorial board for Ageing and Society and Research in Transportation Business & Management journals. He completed his PhD at the Transportation Research Group back in 2004 at the University of Southampton exploring driver behaviour and attitudes to risk and spent some scary moments collecting in-vehicle data with young male ‘boy racer’ drivers.


Thank you to everyone who has made this journey very special. To people who have inspired me on that journey and people who have helped me keep going and reminded me to practice what I preach. Happiness is the road, not the destination.