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This paper develops the argument that post-COVID-19 recovery strategies need to focus on building back fairer cities and communities, and that this requires a strong embedding of ‘age-friendly’ principles to support marginalised groups of older people, especially those living in deprived urban neighbourhoods, trapped in poor quality housing. It shows that older people living in such areas are likely to experience a ‘double lockdown’ as a result of restrictions imposed by social distancing combined with the intensification of social and spatial inequalities. This argument is presented as follows: first, the paper examines the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on older people, highlighting how the pandemic is both creating new and reinforcing existing inequalities in ageing along the lines of gender, class, ethnicity, race, ability and sexuality. Second, the paper explores the role of spatial inequalities in the context of COVID-19, highlighting how the pandemic is having a disproportionate impact on deprived urban areas already affected by cuts to public services, the loss of social infrastructure and pressures on the voluntary sector. Finally, the paper examines how interrelated social inequalities at both the individual and spatial level are affecting the lives of older people living in deprived urban neighbourhoods during the pandemic. The paper concludes by developing six principles for ‘age-friendly’ community recovery planning aimed at maintaining and improving the quality of life and wellbeing of older residents in the post-pandemic city.

Original languageEnglish
JournalUrban Studies
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • COVID-19
  • ageing populations
  • older people
  • social exclusion
  • social inequality
  • deprived neighbourhoods
  • austerity
  • age-friendly cities

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing


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