The World Health Organization ("WHO") launched the Global Age-friendly Cities Project in 2005. According to the WHO, an age-friendly city encourages active ageing by optimising opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age. An age-friendly city is not just "elderly-friendly", but friendly for all ages.

In 2006, the WHO initiated a focus group research project and highlighted older people's concerns on age-friendly features. Eight domains summarising factors of the urban environment that support active and healthy ageing were identified:
For more information about the eight domains, please refer to the "Global Age-friendly Cities: A Guide" published by the WHO in 2007.

Global Age-friendly Cities: A Guide

Initiated and funded by:


Project partners:

  • The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • The University of Hong Kong
  • Lingnan University
  • The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
  • Jockey Club Institute of Ageing
  • Sau Po Centre on Ageing
  • Asia-Pacific Institute of Ageing Studies
  • Research Centre for Gerontology and Family Studies
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Outdoor spaces and buildings

A pleasant, clean and secure environment with green spaces, rest areas, as well as well-developed and safe pedestrian crossings and building infrastructure is a favourable living environment for seniors.


Accessible, affordable and safe public transport enables people to age actively, remain engaged with their community, as well as gain access to health and social services.


Affordable, well-designed and safe housing options with good connectivity to social services and the community allow older residents to live comfortably and help cater to their diverse needs.

Social participation

A variety of accessible and affordable social activities are available to cater to older people’s diverse interests. Seniors’ participation in leisure, social, cultural, educational and spiritual activities fosters their continued integration in society.

Respect and social inclusion

It refers to the attitudes, behaviours and messages of the community towards older people. An inclusive society appreciates and shows respect for the elderly, and encourages older people to participate more in their city’s social, civic and economic activities.

Civic participation and employment

An age-friendly city and community provides ample opportunities of voluntary work and paid employment, and encourages civic participation for older people so that they can continue to contribute to their communities after retirement.

Communication and information

Appropriate distribution of information to older people in a timely, accessible and affordable manner, through the communication channels that seniors are familiar with, helps prevent social exclusion of elderly people.

Community support and health services

A wide range of accessible and affordable health and support services are vital to keep seniors healthy, independent and active.