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Open AccessArticle

How does a (Smart) Age-Friendly Ecosystem Look in a Post-Pandemic Society?

1
Health & Wellbeing Strategic Research Area, School of Health, Wellbeing & Social Care, The Open University, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire MK7 6HH, UK
2
Mi:Lab, Department of Design Innovation, Maynooth University, W23 F2H6 Co. Kildare, Ireland
3
DesignCORE, Humanities, Institute of Technology Carlow, R93 V960 Carlow, Ireland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(21), 8276; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17218276
Received: 28 September 2020 / Revised: 2 November 2020 / Accepted: 3 November 2020 / Published: 9 November 2020
COVID-19 has impacted not only the health of citizens, but also the various factors that make up our society, living environments, and ecosystems. This pandemic has shown that future living will need to be agile and flexible to adapt to the various changes in needs of societal populations. Digital technology has played an integral role during COVID-19, assisting various sectors of the community, and demonstrating that smart cities can provide opportunities to respond to many future societal challenges. In the decades ahead, the rise in aging populations will be one of these challenges, and one in which the needs and requirements between demographic cohorts will vary greatly. Although we need to create future smart age-friendly ecosystems to meet these needs, technology still does not feature in the WHO eight domains of an age-friendly city. This paper extends upon Marston and van Hoof’s ‘Smart Age-friendly Ecosystem’ (SAfE) framework, and explores how digital technology, design hacking, and research approaches can be used to understand a smart age-friendly ecosystem in a post-pandemic society. By exploring a series of case studies and using real-life scenarios from the standpoint of COVID-19, we propose the ‘Concept of Age-friendly Smart Ecologies (CASE)’ framework. We provide an insight into a myriad of contemporary multi-disciplinary research, which are capable to initiate discussions and bring various actors together with a positive impact on future planning and development of age-friendly ecosystems. The strengths and limitations of this framework are outlined, with advantages evident in the opportunity for towns, regions/counties, provinces, and states to take an agile approach and work together in adopting and implement improvements for the greater benefits of residents and citizens. View Full-Text
Keywords: older adults; community; aging; technology; digital; e-health; urban planning; smart ecosystem; gerontechnology; age in place; coronavirus; COVID-19; design hacking; internet of things; human-centered design; smart cities older adults; community; aging; technology; digital; e-health; urban planning; smart ecosystem; gerontechnology; age in place; coronavirus; COVID-19; design hacking; internet of things; human-centered design; smart cities
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Marston, H.R.; Shore, L.; White, P. How does a (Smart) Age-Friendly Ecosystem Look in a Post-Pandemic Society? Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 8276.

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