Neighbourhood walks as place-making in later life

D. R. Lager*, B. Van Hoven, P. P. P. Huigen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
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For older people living in densely populated urban neighbourhoods, walking is an important mode of everyday mobility: it allows to engage in neighbourhood social life and can mitigate physiological decline, which is emphasised in healthy ageing discourses. However, walking is also a means through which meanings about the places of one's everyday life are (re)produced and, hence, contributes to feelings of illbeing and wellbeing. In this paper, we provide a phenomenological account of older adults' place-making practices through walking. In examining this topic, we draw on twelve walking interviews with older adults living independently in two urban neighbourhoods in the Netherlands. Our findings reveal that although our respondents developed a sense of 'insideness' through their spatial and social routes and routines, these same routes and routines also acted as exclusionary mechanisms. We argue that these 'meaningful movements', characterised by ambivalence, remain underexposed in healthy ageing discourses. Paying attention to these feelings and experiences would allow for a better understanding of the facilitators and impediments of walking in later life and its effect on social and emotional wellbeing. This paper concludes by providing implications for policy and planning practice in developing age-friendly and walkable neighbourhoods.

Translated title of the contributionLes promenades de quartier comme fabrique des lieux à la vieillesse = Caminatas por el vecindario como creación de lugares en la vejez
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1080-1098
Number of pages19
JournalSocial & Cultural Geography
Issue number8
Early online date27-Sept-2019
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Place-making
  • walking
  • go-along interviews
  • older adults
  • age-friendly neighbourhoods
  • WELL

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