Improvement of quality of life for kids, youth and elderly

Elderly and an electronic device

How can kids, the youth and the elderly benefit from better knowledge about smart cities? How can they benefit from contributing to smart cities services by using smart devices? How does MARVEL help in improving their quality of life? In the conversation about smart cities, we shouldn’t forget about groups like children and elderly who are currently less involved, than the generations in between. If we take a closer look, despite having achieved huge improvements when it comes to life expectancy, only few steps have been taken towards improving life quality for the elderly for example. Another age group often forgotten are children and the youth.

Life expenctency at birth, EU, 2002-2019, source Eurostat

Smart Cities and the elderly

Smart Cities could play a major role in the process of making life in the city more enjoyable for all. Some cities have already taken measures for this purpose. Examples of software in the context of smart cities are the “National Public Toilet Map” in Australia and the “smartappcity” which is already available in Chile, India, Costa Rica and Spain.

Services like health care, social security, public transport and information about public safety are especially valuable for the elderly. Furthermore, a smart city can facilitate staying active in the process of ageing, which in turn improves overall heath. Therefore, including ageing population in the process of establishing smart cities is crucial, because they themselves know best, which information is most valuable and what means are easiest for them to use. Giving them the possibility to contribute by adding data they consider important, will shape the smart devices to their needs and give them a sense of purpose.

Smart Cities and the youth

In the process of building smart cities we also shouldn’t forget the generation of our future. Just as much as we should include the elderly in the discussion about which information is most valuable, kids and youth must be included in this discussion respectively. Parents could contribute data for the youngest children and since kids as young as 12 years old, already have access to smart devices, their integration in the process should be considered as well.

A possible approach could be the development of apps adjusted to their needs or specific overlays for maps highlighting areas that are important to the specific age groups. By providing valuable, processed, real-time data about public spaces and intersections, as well as the necessary network technology to make it available, where it is needed, MARVEL aims to supply the basis to make cities more inclusive, accessible and enjoyable for all groups of society.

Hopefully, overall increased awareness about smart cities – one of the main goals of MARVEL – will simultaneously increase the integration of these age groups in the development process of smart cities and highlight the related benefits for them. Furthermore, through MARVEL we will learn how to cope with huge amounts of data about smart cities. The data provided by users will just be another pillar that can easily be added and processed likewise. By providing the necessary infrastructure, MARVEL contributes to making smart cities enjoyable for all age groups.

[2] Nelson Rocha, Ana Dias, Goncalo Santinha, Mário Rodrigues, Alexandra Queirós, Carlos Rodrigues. A Systematic Review of Smart Cities’ Applications to Support Active Ageing (ICTH 2019)
[3] Sabine Hennig. Smart Cities need smart citizens, but what about smart children? (2014)

Do you think that groups like children and the elderly sufficiently benefit from smart cities? How could they be better integrated in the development of smart cities in your opinion?

Feel free to reach out using the MARVEL contact form for any comments or questions related to the above. You can also find us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Signed by: the IFAG team

Key Facts

  • Project Coordinator: Dr. Sotiris Ioannidis
  • Institution: Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas (FORTH)
  • E-mail: 
  • Start: 01.01.2021
  • Duration: 36 months
  • Participating Organisations: 17
  • Number of countries: 12

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program under grant agreement No 957337. The website reflects only the view of the author(s) and the Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.