Ageing in Place in a World of Inequalities: Exploring How Sense of Place Is Experienced By Older Adults from Different Social Classes through Photo Diaries

Adriana Portella, Ryan Woolrych, Isolda Günther, Silke Kapp, Eduardo Rocha, Sinval Xavier, Anelize Cardoso, Judith Sixsmith

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


The objective of this study is to establish and compare how older adults (60 years old or more) from different social classes construct a sense of place. The research question that drives this study is: How is the sense of place experienced by older adults from different social classes living in diverse neighbourhoods in Brazil? The study was conducted in the cities of Pelotas, Belo Horizonte and Brasilia, and three neighbourhoods were selected in each city (each one representing high, middle and low-income groups). The methodology was pure qualitative: 12 photo diaries were developed in each city to allow description-thick accounts of place to emerge. Digital cameras were adopted. After taking the photos over a week, the researcher interviewed the participant, using the photos to elicit information. A GIS platform using Google Earth was designed to locate the photos. The results indicate that low-income groups tend to perceive their community as a family network, where people´s relationships are more important than the urban infrastructure of the place; the middle-income groups are also very much related with family and neighbours, however green areas, service and commerce are very important to fill the community spirit. In the case of the high-income group, the most important issue that creates a sense of place are the historic buildings and public spaces, there is not much relationship with neighbours, and family is not the most important variable. The reflections of this study indicate how different sense of place and resident´s perceptions of their neighbourhoods are for different income classes. This research ends by identifying important variables to how to design cities for healthy ageing in a world of many inequalities and lack of public policies that consider people´s perception of their communities. This research is funded by the ESRC in the UK.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2019
EventEnvironmental Design Research Association (EDRA) 50th Conference - Brooklyn, United States
Duration: 22 May 201926 May 2019


ConferenceEnvironmental Design Research Association (EDRA) 50th Conference
Abbreviated titleedra50brooklyn
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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