Developing an Age-Friendly City Policy Framework for Shanghai 2050 Plan

This assignment was part of the Shanghai 2050 plan, prepared by various local and international institutions. One major concern for the future of Shanghai is the problem of aging. Forecast shows that despite the massive influx of migrants, by 2030 there will be fewer than one person in the working ages of 20 to 59 for every elderly person aged 60 and above in Shanghai. Similarly, the share of the elderly persons aged 65 and over will rise to over 40 percent, meaning that almost one of two persons in Shanghai will be aged 65 and over. Even with the current level of migration to Shanghai (at 355,000 per year) and with a very young migrant population base, Shanghai’s migrant population will also age very quickly.

Our contribution focused on policies that the city can adopt to manage an increasing elderly population and developing an “age-friendly” urban future that include allowing for ‘”aging in place” through enhanced access to transportation and mobility choices; flexible, secure housing and age-appropriate health and social care service provision. The project emphasizes that access to age-sensitive transportation is often key to promoting social cohesion amongst elderly residents. In terms of housing provision, the most vulnerable group is often the middle class: too well off for significant government assistance but not possessing the means for many retirement centers. Shanghai can use the scale and demand for senior housing to create opportunities for efficiencies of scale, assisted by incorporation of innovative e-care and other age-friendly technologies, community and health care services.