Personal profile

Research interests

My research explores the impact of ageing on planning, urban design, outdoor spaces, neighbourhoods and housing. My research addresses aspects of health and well-being, social sustainability, age-friendly cities, sense of place, identity and belonging. I work across a range of scales including the street, neighbourhood, and city to examine place-based supports for active and healthy ageing. Much of my research has been transnational in nature, working with academics, practitioners, policy-makers and community groups in the developed and developing world. My methodologies are largely participatory, working with participants as co-researchers and undertaking community mapping, participatory research, and visual methods to undertanding the relationship between person and place. 



I am an Associate Professor in Health and Well-being oin The Urban Institute (TUI) at Heriot-Watt University. Prior to this, I worked at the Gerontology Research Centre, Vancouver, Canada exploring issues of social justice, housing and ageing-in-place. In my research career, I have evaluated urban regeneration programmes in the North-West of England exploring their impact on social and community well-being. I have undertaken research with marginalised and excluded groups including the homeless and socially isolated older adults.

I am currently P-I on two ESRC-funded grant exploring Age Friendly Cities and Communities, undertaking collaborative case study research in cities in UK, Brazil and India (total funding £1.2 million as P-I). The research will develop resources and tools for the development of tools and resources to support older adults to age-in-place.



Roles & Responsibilities

Ryan is Adjunct Professor in Ageing at the Gerontology Research Centre (GRC), Simon Fraser University, Canada. He is also Board Member of the International Society for Gerontechnology (ISG).

Co Author Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2005 2018

Contextual factors for aging well: Creating socially engaging spaces through the use of deliberative dialogues

Canham, S. L., Fang, M. L., Battersby, L., Woolrych, R., Sixsmith, J., Ren, T. H. & Sixsmith, A. 18 Jan 2018 In : Gerontologist. 58, 1, p. 140-148 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Ageing Well in the Right Place: Partnership Working with Older People

Sixsmith, J., Fang, M. L., Woolrych, R., Canham, S. L., Battersby, L. & Sixsmith, A. 2017 In : Working with Older People. 21, 1, p. 40-48 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
service provider
low income

Delivering age-friendly environments: Social justice & rights to the city

Woolrych, R. Mar 2017 Scottish Planner, 169, March, p. 10-11 2 p.

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationFeatured article

From Familiar Faces to Family: Staff and Resident Relationships in Long-Term Care

Canham, S. L., Battersby, L., Fang, M. L., Sixsmith, J., Woolrych, R. & Sixsmith, A. 1 Aug 2017 In : Journal of Aging and Health. 29, 5, p. 842-857 16 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
second home

How can we support the rights of older people to age-in-place?

Woolrych, R. & Sixsmith, J. Jun 2017 SURF Magazine, Spring/Summer

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle