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Regenerating our Neighbourhoods for the Future

May 14th & 15th we celebrate the AAA’s 5th anniversary. While it would be disingenuous to underestimate the scale of our challenge, or indeed the opportunity to move away from outmoded conceptions of age that will lead to a richer set of possibilities in later life. We still believe that a passionate group of like-minded individuals in the same room, talking the same language, sharing the same ideals, and committing to the same overarching goal, can transcend the barriers which generally impede progress. Click here to view agenda.

Funding the future

This year we have teamed up with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and have been working together to flesh out the key issues around which RICS will mobilise: creation of standards, guidance (for practitioners), thought leadership and best practice, towards creation of a 'Reference Framework for Age-friendly Housing and Neighbourhoods.'

This pace of demographic change means there is an increasing need for better homes and more relevant products and services for an important growing segment of our population. The question is, who's going to pick up the tab?

The role of investors

Legal & General's mission, as the UK's largest investor, is to help fund the future: directly, by investing in new technologies, cities and neighbourhoods, and indirectly by helping individuals to plan financially.

According to L&G's Chief Executive Nigel Wilson: "There has never been as much global money available for investment as there is today, but it has never been so badly invested"

L&G estimate the UK has funding gaps or shortfalls of: £150bn for housing, £100bn for urban regeneration, £40bn for clean energy, £90bn for transport and £125bn for SME financing. Mr Wilson says: "The money exists to meet these challenges, but we have policy gaps and need a series of "nudges" to make it happen. For example, a housing policy framework disproportionately focused on home ownership and capital gains for consumers and providers alike needs to morph into a balanced, multi-tenure approach, where long-term rentals also provide steady long-term yields to pay pensions."

Innovation for all

New methods of construction, emerging technologies and ‘big data’ present possibilities for everyone, especially older adults. However, their potential impact on those in later life is relatively unexplored.

Whilst technology has an important role to play, this is essentially a systems challenge requiring a cooperative effort to allow innovative and disruptive thinking to gain a foothold.

There is no shortage of innovation in the UK, and as we have heard from L&G, investment is not the issue. What’s missing is a collaborative framework and a better understanding of the tools required to help government and local authorities support the needs of an ageing population, this is where the aforementioned Reference Framework with RICS comes in.

Space to experiment

Research by AAA, in collaboration with the Nesta Prize Centre, reveals that the burden of evidence for adoption by health and care systems is a primary barrier to innovation. Even the most innovative start-ups are struggling to both experiment and scale because of risk averse providers and regulators.

There needs to be more space created to take risks and to build evidence of the case for digital health and care solutions in the built environment. This requires work between private, public and third sectors to create pilots and share the evidence and data created.

In his introduction to the AAA Tata Steel Neighbourhoods of the Future 2019 report, Tata Steel UK CEO Bimlendra Jha says: the "Key to this idea is the necessity of demonstrating, at scale, how such a community will work. Our ambition, as a collective, is to build a prototype Neighbourhood of the Future, the first of many, to prove the concept.”

To this end, May 14th & 15th we’ll look at a number of innovative projects, in various stages of readiness, which are in synch with the aims and aspirations of Neighbourhoods of the Future. We will explain how you may get involved and consider how this initiative dovetails with UKRI’s Healthy Ageing and Ageing Society Industrial Strategy Challenges.

We are grateful to Nick Howe and his team at NatWest for opening the bank’s brilliant new conference centre to our members. Thanks also to Regents Regeneration and Tata Steel, their generous support means we don’t have to charge you to participate in what promises to be our most action-packed event yet.

The AAA Neighbourhoods of the Future consortia involves like-minded public, private and third sector stakeholders collaborating in a spirit of open innovation. If you think you’ve got what it takes, sign up today and help create a brighter future for our older selves.

AAA Congress 2019-Neighbourhoods of the Future Live. Click here to view programme.

Walk Lines tramless tramway by Priestmangoode - image by Priestmangoode