Aging in Quebec Medium-Size Cities: Challenges and Opportunities

March 28, 2018

The ageing of the population is particularly important in the province of Québec, where people aged 65 and over accounted for 18.3% of the total population at the last census.

In its Ageing and Living Together policy the Ministry of the Family requests municipalities to put in place various actions to promote active ageing in their communities. Promoting walking, for utilitarian and recreational purposes, is one of the preferred means, as it would enable seniors to remain physically active and maintain autonomous mobility. While several studies have focused on walking conditions in large cities, we know little about the situation prevailing in medium-sized cities. What is the role of walking among seniors living in these environments? What are the morphological and urban characteristics that influence walkability in these territories for a senior? What actions in urban planning can we make to promote walking? This paper builds on the results of the Vieillir au Québec research project in order to answer these questions. The first part displays the environmental characteristics affecting active mobility among seniors in general, and particularly in Québec. Secondly, it presents the MAPPA tool, which was developed to integrate senior needs in walkability analysis at street level, in Quebec cities.  Building on the examples of different medium-size cities, we will present seniors’ expectations living in these environments. Finally, we will present some design projects that could allow these cities integrate senior needs in urban planning.


Paula Negron is an Associate professor at the School of Urban Planning and Landscape Architecture of the University of Montreal. She has a Ph.D. in environmental design, a master degree in urban planning and a degree in architecture. Her research interests are mainly on the relation between urban form, everyday mobility and accessibility. She is principally interested in mobility issues among populations with a level of vulnerability (low-income, women, the elderly). Her recent research focuses on seniors’ everyday mobility, in low-density urban environments in suburbs and medium-size cities.

(Watch the recorded lecture here – Public Lecture | March 28, 2018)

Access the lecture slides here.