The expected ageing of the population puts enormous pressure on adjusting urban structures to guarantee and promote an active and healthy lifestyle to older adults (see the concept of “age-friendly cities” by the World Health Organization). At the same time, the need to adjust for other challenges, namely climate change, has promoted the development of different types of street design and public planning, including increased exposure to green elements (e.g., vegetation) and active forms of mobility such as walking and cycling. At this moment, it becomes urgent to identify the best designs that promote sustainability while at the same time promoting walkability (I.e., walking competence) and the social integration of older people in the urban tissue.Recent trends in urban design are what architects call “green streets”. These are streets that incorporate both vegetation elements (with water re-use) and active mobility elements – cycling and walking paths.In an innovative manner, this project brings together specialists from different fields (i.e., psychology, architecture, computer science, sociology) to explore the effects of green streets on the mobility and social integration of older people. Following a mixed-method approach, data will be collected regarding the perceptions and the actual street use by older people (i.e., observation studies). The final goal of these studies is to simulate green streets environments using virtual reality and to test the effects of different street design on the mobility and inclusion perceptions of older people (e.g., ageism).We believe that the results of this study are important and novel and that they have a meaningful contribution both on a theoretical and intervention level in this domain.

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Promotor: Sibila Marques (ISCTE-IUL, CIS-Iscte)

Co-promotor: Sara Eloy (UA, Henry van de Velde, ISTAR-Iscte)

Partner: Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL), Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa