Giving Compass’ Take:
• Kristopher Hamel, Katharina Fenz, and Andreas Walli explain that geo-spatial programs are able to map out the location of where aging populations are most likely to live. This information can be useful when determining where to set up services for elderly people.
• How can philanthropy use geo-spatial research to set up programs and services? What do services currently look like in your area?
• This type of research will be useful in the rural portion United States, where the elderly population is in need.
The proportion of people aged 60 and up is growing faster than any other age group, and no government or business can prosper for long without reckoning with the profound economic and social effects associated with a quickly graying population. But there may be new solutions on the horizon thanks to innovations in geo-spatial demography.
In recent years, the European Union launched initiatives aimed at addressing the challenges it faces by being home to the largest proportion of citizens over 60 on the planet. Worldwide, an entire industry (the “silver economy”) has emerged seemingly out of nowhere to sell to pensioners in every income bracket and every country.
But where exactly will the elderly live?
The good news for the silver economy is that a new generation of population dynamics modeling now aspires to transform high-resolution satellite imagery into blueprints of where the elderly—or any age group for that matter—are likely to live in the future.
A recent feasibility study funded by the European Space Agency examined this challenge. The preliminary results of this experiment—called AgeSpot—were just unveiled earlier this month.
By applying econometric and demographic modeling techniques to census, land-use, and satellite data, the AgeSpot algorithm was taught to find patterns of relationships between humans and their physical surroundings.
For developed countries, the uses are manifold: zoning laws, infrastructure delivery, optimizing branch location and site identification of organizations, social services budgeting, retail chain expansion, and local and regional marketing campaigns. In developing countries where census, public planning, and service delivery are hampered by many constraints, the applications for leveraging these kinds of tools seem limitless.
Read more about geo-spatial research can help the aging population by Kristopher Hamel, Katharina Fenz, and Andreas Walli at Brookings.
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