Tine Buffel

Prof

  • Professor of Sociology and Social Gerontology, Sociology

Personal profile

Biography

Tine Buffel is Professor of Sociology and Social Gerontology at the University of Manchester, where she directs the Manchester Urban Ageing Research Group (MUARG) – an interdisciplinary group bringing together scholars from sociology, geography, anthropology, political science and architecture, with an interest in identifying new ways of responding to the challenges associated with population ageing in urban environments. 

Tine has published widely in the field of ageing, with a particular focus on social and environmental issues associated with ageing populations. Her research career has been distinguished by a commitment to working with community partnerships to study and address equity and social justice issues. She has been particularly interested in studying questions relating to neighbourhood and community life in later life, social inequality and exclusion, urban development and creating ‘age-friendly’ cities and communities. Using participatory and co-production methods, her work has received various prizes for its impact on policy and practice to improve the lives of older people. She is an expert member of the WHO Advisory Group on Measurement, Monitoring and Evalution of the UN Decade of Healthy Ageing and serves as an executive board member of the British Society of Gerontology. 

She was the principal investigator on various grants, including a European Commission Intra-European Marie Curie Fellowship and an ESRC Future Leaders award, both of which build upon her international networks and collaborations. In 2021, she was awarded a Research Leader Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust, with a 5-year project entitled 'Urbanisation and Population Ageing: Interdisciplinary perspectives on "ageing in place" in cities'. This study will provide innovative insights into the question of how urban environments can adapt to meet the needs of a growing and increasingly diverse ageing population, drawing upon an interdisciplinary and mixed-methods approach involving fieldwork in seven cities across the world. 

Before coming to the University of Manchester in 2012, Tine was a PhD student, Research associate and more recently lecturer in Educational Sciences at the Free University of Brussels (VUB). She holds an honorary position at VUB, where she continues to develop joint work with colleagues involved in the Belgian Ageing Studies. 

Research interests

Research themes

Prof Tine Buffel directs the Manchester Urban Ageing Research Group (MUARG) – an interdisciplinary group bringing together scholars from sociology, geography, anthropology, political science and architecture, with an interest in understanding the relationship between population ageing and urbanisation. She has published widely in the field of ageing, with a particular focus on social, political and environmental issues associated with ageing populations. Her research career has been distinguished by a commitment to working with community partnerships to study and address equity and social justice issues. She has been particularly interested in studying questions relating to:

  • Neighbourhood and community life/change
  • Inequality in later life
  • The dynamics of social exclusion and inclusion
  • Place attachment and issues of belonging
  • The development of age-friendly communities
  • Participatory research methods
  • Ageing, urbanisation and migration
  • Co-research with older people

Research projects

Her research projects include: 

  • Urbanisation and population ageing: Interdisciplinary perspectives on 'ageing in place' in cities - Principal Investigator (The Leverhulme Trust, 2020-2025)
  • The experience of 'ageing in place' over time: A longitudinal perspective - Co-investigator (Economic and Social Research Council, 2019-2020)
  • A cross-national study of age-friendly cities - Principal investigator (World Health Organization, 2018-2019)
  • Growing old in the city: Researching social isolation - Principal investigator (Humanities Strategic Investment Fund, 2017-2020)
  • Urban Ageing and social exclusion - Principal investigator (Economic and Social Research Council, 2016-2019)
  • Researching age-friendly communities in Manchester - Principal investigator (Intra-European Marie Curie Fellowship, European Commission, 2013-2015)
  • Developing age-friendly communities: Training sessions for older adults to become co-researchers - Principal investigator (Social responsibility fund, the University of Manchester, 2013-2014) 
  • Experiences of place, neighbourhood and community in later life - Principal investigator (Research Foundation Flanders, 2008-2012)
  • Powercare: A study on the role of gatekeepers in migrant communities - Co investigator (Flemish Community Commission, 2012-2013)
  • Social participation in later life - Co-investigator (Province of East Flanders, Belgium, 2012) 

 

My group

Manchester Urban Ageing Research Group (MUARG)

Understanding the relationship between population ageing and urban change has become a major issue for public policy, and an increasingly important area for interdisciplinary research.

An emerging theme is the creation of 'age-friendly cities and communities'. This approach, initiated by the World Health Organization, reflects the need to develop supportive urban communities for older people. Key characteristics of an age-friendly community include the built environment, social inclusion and service provision.

Our research supports the promotion of age-friendly environments at global, EU, national and local level. MUARG has a particular focus on understanding issues relating to social exclusion and pressures facing older people in areas subject to economic decline.

Aims and objectives

  • To undertake interdisciplinary research on urban ageing
  • To develop international collaboration and cross-national research on ageing and urbanisation
  • To promote new methodologies and knowledge exchange activities which involve older people as co-investigators
  • To assist the development of evidence-based local, regional, and national policies which aim to improve the experience of ageing in cities
  • To secure internal and external funds to support work on urban ageing

Research interests

Group members’ research spans inequalities in later life, social exclusion and poverty, rural/urban boundaries, ageing and mobility, ethnicity, migration and healthcare systems, housing design and climate change, comparative studies and developing age-friendly cities. We work closely with partners in government and third sector organisations.

Collaboration, co-production and engagement

We are committed to working in partnership with policy, practice and public stakeholders to promote age-friendly urban environments. We work closely together with a range of stakeholders including the World Health Organization, AGE Platform Europe, Age-friendly Manchester, and the Greater Manchester Ageing Hub. 

Selected grants and projects

Buffel, T. Urbanisation and population ageing: An interdisciplinary approach to understanding "ageing in place" in cities. Funding: The Leverhulme Trust.

Buffel, T. Urban Ageing and Social Exclusion. Funding: UK ESRC

Phillipson, C. and Lewis, C. Tackling Social Isolation in Urban Environments. Funding: Big Lottery UK

Remillard-Boilard, S. Age-Friendly Cities: A cross-national perspective. Funding: Canadian Social Science Research Council, the University of Manchester and Manchester City Council

Cotterell, N. Growing old in the city: Researching social isolation. Funding: The University of Manchester.

Lewis, C., Buffel, T. and May, V. The experience of ‘ageing in place’ over time: A longitudinal perspective. Funding: UK ESRC

Phillipson, C. et al. Developing participatory approaches to care. Funding: Manchester City Council, the University of Manchester and various donors. 

Principal investigator

Dr Tine Buffel, MICRA, School of Social Sciences

Opportunities

I would be happy to hear from potential research students wanting to work on topics relating to my research interests:

  • Neighbourhood and community life/change
  • Inequality in later life
  • The dynamics of social exclusion and inclusion
  • Place attachment and issues of belonging
  • The development of age-friendly communities
  • Participatory research methods
  • Ageing, urbanisation and migration
  • Co-research with older people

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

External positions

Visiting professor, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

1 May 202030 Apr 2023

Executive Board Member British Society of Gerontology

2017 → …

Areas of expertise

  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • HM Sociology
  • HT Communities. Classes. Races

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global inequalities
  • Policy@Manchester
  • Cathie Marsh Institute
  • Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing
  • Creative Manchester
  • Healthier Futures

Keywords

  • Ageing
  • Social exclusion
  • Social inequality
  • Urbanisation
  • Co-production
  • Participatory research
  • Age-friendly communities
  • Social gerontology
  • Community studies
  • Ageing and migration
  • Place and neighbourhood
  • Urban ageing

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