Smart cities for ageing societies

 – multidisciplinary seminar

The aim of the on-line seminar is to analyze the concept of smart cities in relation to active ageing. The rationale behind is that ageing is the major challenge faced by cities today and onto the future, in particular in combination with the current and possible future pandemics and the climate change. We want to analyze interactions within the ageing city, which is the first step for planning new policies of motivating and enabling elderly people to work and to remain an active part of a community. In order to do it, we offer a series of research seminars, in which students and scientists interested in ageing and smart city can meet and discuss problems they are investigating, show their work, identify potential research problems and listen to the presentations of invited experts.


Schedule for the academic year 2020/2021:


The seminars take place on Wednesdays, from 9:30 till 11:00.


November 18th, 2020


Hans-Werner Wahl

Heidelberg University

Beyond Virology: Psychosocial Aspects of Aging in the Corona Pandemic



After some hope during this summer, COVID-19's Second Wave is challenging us now in the fall and wintertime once again and possible even stronger than in spring - as researchers, as citizens, and societies. As a psychologist with interest in lifespan development and aging as well as in the role of smart/digital technology, I will follow two goals in this presentation. First, I will concentrate on issues of psychosocial adaptation (e.g., life satisfaction) during the Corona crisis, always driven by an age-differential point of view. Overall, as it seems and although older adults are marked as "the" risk group, they seem to get better psychologically along with the crisis than younger age groups such as those in mid life. However, those in long-term care deserve quite a different view and have seen risky social isolation in many countries in the first lock-down phase, the consequences of which (all-cause mortality, cognitive deterioration, apathy etc.) are still hard to evaluate based on sound data. In parallel, linking the Corona issue still closer to the "Smart Cities for Ageing Societies" theme, digital technologies, (artificially) intelligent media, and robotics have seen a strong momentum internationally as a helpful and totally underused means at different levels in the Corona pandemic, such as a direct infection protector (e.g., assistive robots helping in meal services without risk of infection), social connector and social isolation counteracting force (with family, friends, health actors), and relief for professional and informal care providers (e.g., robots doing COVID-testing at clinic entrances or even in public areas). I hope to serve with this input a general discussion in differentiating in how smart technologies may help coping with the pandemic versus what still is unrealistic and wishful thinking.


Presentation slides


December 2nd, 2020


Magdalena Kubecka

Vice-president of On-site Foundation (Fundacja "Na miejscu"), Project "Toilet for me too" Coordinator in Poland

“Accessible toilets and the matter of dignity of elderly



One of the things that stops older and disabled people from going out is the lack of toilets that are publicly available and accessible. The accessibility of flexible and smart toilets in the (semi-)public space is crucial but still limited in many countries. In general, people need to use the toilet 4 to 8 times each day, including when they are out of home. Half of us needs to use the toilet immediately (in 1 to 5 minutes). Older and disabled people need to use the toilet even more often. The project I am going to present addresses the needs of such people and their caregivers when using the toilet outside their homes in semi-public places by providing a supportive ICT-enhanced toilet adapting to the individual user's needs. We are working on a toilet system with ICT-based, adaptive physical stand-up and control support with integrated safety features. It will allow people with movement or mobility restrictions, who currently require human assistance, to use the toilet independently and safely. This is the next step towards barrier-free toilets in public spaces for the disabled and elderly.


The project T4ME2 is funded in part by AAL and national research funding agencies. AAL is the funding association behind Toilet For Me. AAL is a European programme funding innovation that keeps people connected, healthy, active and happy into our old age. They support the development of products and services that make a real difference to people's lives – for those facing some of the challenges of ageing and for those who care for older people if they need help.


December 16th, 2020


Giancarlo Manzi

Università degli Studi di Milano

“The elders' urban mobility in Covid-19 times: the case of the "BikeMi" bike-sharing service in Milan, Italy”


January 13th, 2021


To be announced


January 27th, 2021


Sion Jones

HelpAge International

“Older peoples voices in urban communities”



The remaining schedule for this academic year will be published as soon as possible. If you are interested in sharing your research or experience with us, let us know.

Organizational information:


The coordinators of the seminar:

- Chiara Del Bo (UM),

- Grzegorz Kula (UW),

- Emmanuel Raju (CPHU),

- Christiane Schwieren (HU)


If you want to attend the seminar, send an e-mail to Grzegorz Kula:


The links to the on-line seminars on ZOOM will be sent via answering e-mail.


For some meetings the recordings will be available. If you want to see them, send an e-mail to Grzegorz Kula:


Students from 4EU+ Alliance, who want to treat this seminar as a course, should check the information here.



This seminar is organized within the framework of 4EU+ Alliance.