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Senior citizens as co-researchers to improve urban planning
Date:11/1/2011

Heavy carrier bags and a lurching bus are an equation that is difficult to solve for most people, but for an elderly person getting the shopping home on public transport can be an almost insurmountable task. A newly launched research project at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, is now enlisting the help of the senior citizens themselves to learn about the challenges in everyday logistics, and it is hoped that the results will lead to better urban planning.

The sustainable city of the future should be car-free, pleasant to live in and attractive to tourists. This is difficult to accomplish,especially because planners often forget that consumers rarely move around the city empty-handed. It is not easy to reconcile the transporting of goods with the car-free city, especially for elderly people, who are no longer able to carry heavy items.

"In the Consumer Logistics project we claim that this form of consumer logistics is a forgotten aspect of urban planning. We consider it a good starting point, for improved consumer logistics for the elderly, to look at how senior citizens deal with their daily logistics, what kind of problems they face and what ideas they have for improvements," says Helene Brembeck, Professor of Ethnology at the Centre for Consumer Science (CFK) at the University of Gothenburg.

In an ethnographic part of a larger study, a number of senior citizens in Gothenburg will therefore be recruited as co-researchers for a few weeks this autumn. Co-research is a method the Centre for Consumer Science at the University of Gothenburg has considerable positive experience of.

"We have co-researched with consumers of all ages. Co-research is based on the view that the consumers themselves are experts in their own everyday lives and that research has much to gain from involving people in the research process on equal terms," says Professor Brembeck.

The co-researchers' share in the project consists of four element
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Contact: Helene Brembeck
helene.brembeck@cfk.gu.se
46-031-786-5828
University of Gothenburg
Source:Eurekalert  

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