Walking through the city with the elderly: the urban construction of vulnerability

  • Teresa Amor Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL), DINÂMIA’CET-IUL, Lisboa, Portugal
Keywords: Ageing, elderly, social isolation, urban space, vulnerability, vulnerabilization


This article is based on the results of a project that had the social isolation in late life as its object of study; one intended to look at 'Space' as a category of social understanding, checking, in particular, to what extent and in what ways urban space generates and/or strengthens situations of social isolation in old age. The results point out a strong relation between spatial configuration and the way(s) people reconfigure their daily routines in this phase of their life course. If, in theory and in the first instance, physical frailty tends to be associated with the physiological component of the ageing process, the information gathered shows the sociological relevance of the contextual dimensions of vulnerability. The 'City' tends to be seen as hostile and aggressive, and, from a phenomenological standpoint, people’s perceptions about their own vulnerability are strongly rooted in these social and urban dimensions