Cities will play a key role in confronting the challenges of an increasingly ageing population

Photo: Harry Verhaar, Head of Global Public and Governmental Affairs at Philips Lighting, partnered with the GCIF on this Cities and Ageing policy snapshot.

By 2050, for the first time in history, there will be more people in the world over age 65 than under age 14. The Global City Indicators Facility (GCIF), part of the newly launched Global Cities Institute at the University of Toronto, has partnered with Philips in The Netherlands, to release a new report on Cities and Ageing.

This policy snapshot outlines strategies for addressing the needs of our ageing urban population, and shows how internationally standardized indicators of “age-friendly cities” can be used to benchmark and predict scenarios for better-informed decision-making. The report, and GCIF’s ongoing research, will inform and guide city leaders on how to better confront the challenges associated with an ageing population.

Globally, people over the age of 65 will increase by 183 percent by 2050. In parts of Africa, the increase is a startling 366 percent. At the same time, urbanization has become a defining phenomenon of the 21st century, and it is projected that 70 percent of the world’s population will live in cities. Given these two critical population shifts, this rapidly ageing world signifies rapidly ageing cities.

Municipal policy decisions are becoming increasingly vital to the state of the world’s ageing population — and their success will have far-reaching effects on the global economy. In many countries, however, ageing related services are administered at the provincial/state or national levels.

“Policy and funding silos can frustrate real solutions,” says Professor McCarney. “A national strategy that funnels resources into cities to address issues associated with their ageing populations is fundamental in moving forward if sustainable prosperity nationally and globally is our goal.”

According to Global Cities Institute Senior Fellow, Dr. Gora Mboup, who leads the Global Urban Observatory at UN Habitat in Nairobi, “The global urban agenda is just coming to terms with this ageing phenomenon. The new GCIF-Philips Report is timely and insightful and positions cities and ageing as a core component of the global agenda.”

“The Cities and Ageing policy snapshot is a rich source of insights and recommendations to the policy debates taking place on energy and climate change, as well as future healthcare systems and budgets,” says Harry Verhaar, Head of Global Public & Governmental Affairs of Philips Lighting. “This underlines the need for new solutions and service delivery models, for example, intelligent LED street lighting for improved safety and comfort, and modern healthcare solutions such as home healthcare and remote health monitoring to stimulate people to stay active and healthy while reducing the number of costly hospital visits.”

Click here for the full press release.

The GCIF Policy Snapshot on Cities and Ageing is available to download at: and