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Social infrastructure: how shared spaces make communities work. Briefing

AMBITION FOR AGEING
2019

This briefing highlights the importance of shared spaces to help reduce social isolation amongst older people as the population ages and austerity leads to more and more state responsibilities falling to civil society. Shared spaces could be public libraries, commercial spaces such as cafes or leisure facilities and parks and green spaces. The briefing explains how different kinds of shared spaces help support different types and levels of social capital. This can be between people who share a common bond as well as connections between diverse groups of people. The ability to build even weak social ties with a diversity of people can help provide bridges to new social worlds, helping older people feel more connected to the places in which they live and improving resilience. The briefing summarises findings from the report, 'Social Infrastructure: how shared spaces make communities work' produced by MICRA as part of the Ambition for Ageing programme.

Social infrastructure: how shared spaces make communities work

YARKER Sophie
2019

This report, from the Ambition for Ageing project, identifies how social infrastructure in neighbourhoods can promote social interaction and reduce social isolation for older people. Social infrastructure provides spaces and opportunities for people to have social interactions and build connections. The report argues there needs to be a diversity of social infrastructure to support different types and levels of social connection, and considers the importance of the connections made between diverse groups of people - also known as bridging capital. It also looks at the types of social infrastructure that facilitate this, which tend to be places that the majority of the community would have the opportunity to visit, such as public libraries, cafes and parks and open public spaces. Key points include: that shared spaces within neighbourhoods are vital for reducing social isolation for older people; that different kinds of social infrastructure help support different types and levels of social capital; and the need for social infrastructure that supports intergenerational and intercultural encounters. Despite its often informal nature, social infrastructure is not naturally occurring and therefore The report highlights the need for direct investment and support to help the development of the social infrastructure and the creation of third places.

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News

Moving Memory

Moving Memory Practice example about how the Moving Memory Dance Theatre Company is challenging perceived notions of age and ageing.

Chatty Cafe Scheme

Chatty Cafe Scheme Practice example about how the Chatty Cafe Scheme is helping to tackle loneliness by bringing people of all ages together

Oomph! Wellness

Oomph! Wellness Practice example about how Oomph! Wellness is supporting staff to get older adults active and combat growing levels of social isolation

KOMP

KOMP Practice example about how KOMP, designed by No Isolation is helping older people stay connected with their families

LAUGH research project

LAUGH research project Practice example about a research project to develop highly personalised, playful objects for people with advanced dementia
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