PRACTICE - Planning Rethinked Ageing Cities Through Innovative Cellular Environments


Project presentation

PRACTICE (Planning Rethinked Ageing Cities Through Innovative Cellular Environments) is a "Significant Bilateral Project" approved within the Executive Programme on Scientific and Technological Cooperation between Italian Republic and the Kingdom of Sweden.

The project, funded from the Italian side by the Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR), is carried out by CITERA (Centro Interdipartimentale Territorio Edilizia, Restauro, Ambiente - Interdepartmental Centre for Territory, Housing, Heritage and Environment) of the Sapienza University of Rome and the Department of Urban Planning & Environment of the KTH Royal Institute of Technology of Stockholm.

The aim of the project PRACTICE is to reconsider urban areas for elderly, applying and reconsidering the methodology elaborated with the previous project SoURCE (Sustainable Urban Cells), designing innovative urban cells in order to improve quality of life for ageing citizens. The project is aimed to bridge the distances from goods and services to end users, applying an integrated approach to main aspects of urban life.

Rethinking cities, considering also the needs of the elderly population – both concrete and moral/spiritual – it is not a very considered issue today. The most common approach is toward their isolation in dedicated structures, with the risk of the “ghetto” effect. The research will try to give an answer to the matter of their social integration, considering two scales of analysis: single building and urban planning, including sensitive issues like mobility and social inclusion.

Both scale of intervention will be contextualized in two different scenarios: small town, less than 5.000 inhabitants and cities suburbs. Considering the small towns the methodology foresees punctual interventions due to the existing urban texture for bridging the distances between the main services for ageing population, such as from residential areas to healthcare services, recreational facilities and places of worship. Considering the cities suburbs, the interventions will we applied by consecutive steps performed on urban cells, sized around 5.000 inhabitants.

The two main case studies will take into account building typology and eventually innovative planning approaches, but more specifically in suburban areas, the proposal will be to reorganize housing policies and services, in order to recreate the social conditions of the village, considered as the most suitable environment for guarantee quality of life for both young and elderly citizens.

The beginning of research, to be implemented during the first year of research, will be identifying areas of intervention in single/multiple building scale reaching progressively the urban dimension. All elements aimed to improve quality of life in elderly population will be considered: from social, to cultural, religious, mobility and healthcare needs. More in details methodology foresees:

1.Identification of elements contributing to the quality of life for elderly people: worldwide academic state of the art, interview and surveys with elderly people and practitioners.

2.Identification of key spatial qualities and characteristics of urban environments that enhance quality of life for elderly people: worldwide academic state-of-the-art,, interview and surveys with elderly people and practitioners.

3.Development of a model, aimed to integrate elderly quality of life elements, in urban design, planning and development, based on the inclusive and cross-disciplinary Swedish SymbioCity approach.

The second step, to be elaborated in the second year, will involve the definition of possible interventions to be carried out, both on suburban and small cities. In this phase, it will be necessary a strong synergy with social scientists, in order to identify a clear path towards a healthy urban environment for ageing people.

The third step of research will focus on field tests of the methodology, identifying appropriate case studies in both countries. It will include the development of taxonomy of various housing typologies for elderly people to be evaluated according to the findings from years 1 and 2.

•The Italian team, more focused on building integrated modelling, energy efficiency, ICT, energy and mobility networks, will work on the of building scale and definition of infrastructure energy and logistics grids.

•The Swedish team, centered on urban planning/design and social sciences, will mainly pay attention to design urban environments for enhancing quality of life for the elderly. This will includes both the content (built environment) and procedural (process) aspects of planning.



Fabrizio Cumo, Head of CITERA and Project Coordinator

Rossella Roversi, Research Coordinator

Davide Astiaso Garcia, Coordinator of the energy efficiency, ICT, energy and mobility networks activities

Daniela Picardi, Financial Manager

Giuseppe Piras, Researcher

Valentina Stefanini, Research fellow

Luca Gugliermetti, PhD Candidate

Elisa Pennacchia, PhD Candidate

Mariagrazia Tiberi, PhD Candidate


Workshops and conferences