Dementia friendly urban design

When you think about urban design and designing for the people, the question is, which people?

There are so many challenges in balancing the needs of the people in a big city – as the saying goes you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

Certainly here in Australia and in many western countries we need to keep our focus on designing for an ageing population, which also means designing for a population with reduced mobility.

Recently we wrote about some great work in the United States, with a guide on developing inclusive cities that support people with autism.

Right now in Perth there is a former school principal who is working with Alzheimer’s Australia, funded by the Western Australian government, to encourage urban design that is dementia friendly.

With a rare form of the disease called Benson’s Syndrome, Dr Glenda Parkin, is now travelling around Australia with her husband on their ‘memory bus’, to talk about simple things like the contrast on signage and the need to make cities easier to navigate for people with dementia.

With 900,000 Australians predicted to have dementia by the year 2050, this is another important factor to be considered when coming up with your next piece of work in the public realm.


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