All participating Ausmip countries are increasingly facing the consequences of a rapidly ageing population, aggravated by a steady population shrinkage in some countries.
Whereas architecture and urban planning traditionally concerns issues somehow related to expansion, or adding building stock, changing demographics represent an important reversal of priorities. Within this perspective, the current debate on ‘sustainability’ too often is quite narrowly focused on energy related issues. In this regard, the challenge as how to address the coming demographic challenges and enhance resilience is a core theme within the Ausmip programs.
Ageing is not just limited to individuals, it is a global trend, of which the effects already greatly affect most advanced countries and certainly all Ausmip countries. Technological and medical advancements, healthcare, but also the economy, social structures, and individual lifestyles result in ever smaller families, preferring better living standards.
The resulting drop in fertility rates and simultaneous ageing of the population creates increasing pressure on the active part of the population, supporting an ever larger number of dependent elderly citizens. With each passing year the base of the population pyramid is shrinking, with its top expanding.
In this context, Ausmip sees architecture and urban planning to take on a leading role in incorporating new technologies, strategies and planning concepts in order to shape inclusive, adequate human future environments. It’s research network has a high potential impact on the quality of life as well as generating new solutions that target an attractive market worldwide. Individual Programs to address demographic change have been set up on a EU level, within Japan and within Korea, yet, up to now no cooperation or R&D program exists which extends into a global network. Ausmip will thus provide the basis for future global networks addressing these issues.
Facing similar challenges, while experiencing a transition from growth models to shrinking cities, the different usage of our infrastructure through the impact of the digital realm and an increased ecologic awareness is increasingly affecting research and education. This is fundamentally altering the fields of expertise and future professional. The complex issue of demographic change cannot be addressed by any individual nation or within the EU, therefore Ausmip envisions two R&D dimensions:
Collaborative and cultural studies, here the Ausmip partnership’s primary goal is to advance appreciation, stimulate insights about similarities, differences and the detection of potential new fields of collaborative study and research within the domains of Architecture, Urban Design and Planning.
Incubation, & technology transfer network: Ausmip should also work as incubator allowing the incorporation of new fields of research and approaches within the conventional fields of Urban Planning and Architecture.
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