How will the city look after you as you age?

People who are older deserve the freedom to move safely, conveniently and enjoyably around Yarra, e.g. to walk or roll on mobility scooters to shops, activities or their friends houses. Even better would be if streets were shaded by trees, and offered places to rest, meet and socialise.

We need to shift the conversation on ageing to healthy ageing and creating environments that better support ageing in place. Age-friendly places aren’t just good for older people. They also support the needs of children, people with a disability and everyone else in a community.

Melanie Davern et al, The Conversation
Image credit: Kathleen Brasher in The Conversation

Yarra policy

Yarra has an Active and Healthy Ageing Strategy with a vision that includes:

The City of Yarra is an Age-Friendly City…Our environments and public spaces are safe and supportive…

Active and Healthy Ageing Strategy
Image credit: City of Yarra

The strategy identifies a key theme as:

The key to living well in Yarra is the ability to independently access a variety of programs and support services which allow them to connect to other people and experience the health (mental and physical) benefits of socialisation and exercise.

Active and Healthy Ageing Strategy

The strategy identifies several goals, including:

GOAL 1: Outdoor spaces: …increase mobility and decrease car dependency.

GOAL 2: Transport: People 50+ can get out and about…

Active and Healthy Ageing Strategy

State government policy

The state government has published ‘Ageing well in Victoria – An action plan‘:

Image credit: Victoria State Government

The plan publishes eight attributes for ageing well, number 8 is ‘Able to get around’:

Source: Ageing well in Victoria

What local and state governments can do

Local and state governments can collaborate to make streets better for seniors by building:

  • wider footpaths and safe crossings,
  • protected bicycle lanes that link 30 km/h streets in Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, and
  • protected level-access tram stops. 

Budget is needed to pay for the necessary infrastructure improvements, and revenue is available by reforming the pricing of on-street parking. Unfortunately, Council faces several barriers to implementation, including:

  • Some residents don’t want council to allocate more street space to walking and cycling
  • Some residents don’t want council to charge market rates for on-street parking

Each of us can help by showing our support for an increased allocation of street space and budget for walking and cycling, e.g. by appearing as a champion on the Streets Alive Yarra website.

Guidance from experts

Both the Heart Foundation and the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) write that seniors need cities that prioritise walking, cycling and public transport:

Image credit: CNU

As people age they may lose their ability or confidence to operate a motor vehicle, however they can still ride. There are three barriers preventing older people from cycling in Yarra; getting up hills, pedalling longer distances, or the fear of being hit by a car. These barriers can be solved by modern e-bikes and by constructing a network of protected bicycle lanes that link 30 km/h Low Traffic Neighbourhoods.

Image credit: Pedestrian & Bicycle Information Centre webinar

Design guides

Learn more from this collection of design guides, including the WHO guide to age-friendly cities:

Source: WHO


We know how to make Yarra’s streets better for seniors, we just need to deliver it.

How you can help

You can help by appearing on the Streets Alive Yarra website as a champion for your local street, neighbourhood, or school.

Let’s build a beautiful, liveable and accessible city