Older People and City Life: Participation and Access Challenges

In this CityLab, the UNIC team at Koc University focused on the theme “Older People and City Life: Participation and Access Challenges” to understand and identify the problem with their root causes and stakeholders aiming to enhance societal impact.

Virtual Place



Start: 03.03.2022
End: 03.03.2022


Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality , Turkish Geriatrics Foundation , Senex , Aging Studies Association , 65+Elder Rights Association

In this CityLab, the UNIC team at Koç University focused on the theme "Older People and City Life: Participation and Access Challenges" to understand and identify the problems with their root causes and stakeholders, aiming to enhance societal impact.

The students conducted preparatory research before the workshop, delving into brainstorming and identifying issues and problems related to the theme. They were divided into two groups, with one group focusing on general problems caused by age and ageism, while the other concentrated on city-specific problems related to Istanbul and its aging population.

On the day of the workshop, the 2-hour session commenced with brief presentations led by academics and stakeholders, who discussed the current challenges associated with ageism, aging demographics, architectural and infrastructural challenges of the city, economic problems, and digital and social inclusivity for the aged population. The discussion was facilitated, and afterward, the participants were divided into two groups based on their experiences and interests. The students conducted interviews and discussed their research with expert stakeholders. Following the conclusion of the breakout room discussions, both groups reconvened and presented their findings. To identify challenges and present their findings, the students utilized Google Jamboard and Canva.

11:00 – 11:05 Participants entering Zoom

11:05 – 11:10 Welcoming speech introducing UNIC and CityLabs Burcu Yakıcı, MiReKoc, WP5 Representative, KU UNIC Team

11:10 – 11:15 Opening Speech & Introducing UNIC Alliance Prof. Ahmet İçduygu, MiReKoc Director, KU International Relations and Sociology Faculty Member

11:15 – 11:20 Introductory Speech& Introducing 65+ Elder Rights Association
Dr. Esra Akan, Architect, 65+ Elder Rights Association, Member of Board of Directors

11:20 – 11:25 Introductory Speech& Introducing Turkish Geriatrics Foundation Murat Şengül, Turkish Geriatrics Foundation, President

11:25 – 11:30 Introductory Speech& Introducing Senex- Aging Studies Association Associate Professor Dr. Özgür Arun, Department of Gerontology, Akdeniz University and Senex-Aging Studies Association, President

11:30 – 11:35 Introductory Speech& Introducing Istanbul Planning Agency of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality

Zelal Yalçın, Istanbul Planning Agency of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Coordinator of Social Policies

11:35 – 12:40 Participants’ entry to zoom breakout rooms and discussing their previous research and experiences with the stakeholders

Room 1: Access problems do older adults have in urban life (infrastructure, physical, digital, socialisation) (Stakeholders for room 1: Dr. Esra Akan and Murat Şengül)

Room 2: Economic problems and poverty of older adults; social exclusion and ageism (Stakeholders for room 2: Associate Professor Dr. Özgür Arun and Zelal Yalçın)

12:40 – 12:45 Students finalising their presentations

12:45 – 12:55 Student groups presenting their findings on root causes of the problems and their learnings about unforeseen problems

12:55 – 13:00 Final remarks

Total participants: 31

Total students: 17

Total Staff members: 9

Total representatives of societal stakeholder: 5

At the conclusion of the CityLab, the students expressed that they had gained insights into issues they hadn't previously considered. Each group shared their findings, and they acknowledged that certain issues, such as the extent of discrimination caused by the Covid-19 responses and the demographic changes resulting from climate change, were previously unknown to them. They attributed their newfound knowledge to the valuable input provided by the stakeholders.


UNIC CityLabs


Diversity and Inclusion | Ageing well

Type of Case

event | Engaged Research



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