COVID-19 has impacted not only the health of citizens, but also the various factors that make up our society, living environments, and ecosystems. This pandemic has shown that future living will need to be agile and flexible to adapt to the various changes in needs of societal populations. Digital technology has played an integral role during COVID-19, assisting various sectors of the community, and demonstrating that smart cities can provide opportunities to respond to many future societal challenges. In the decades ahead, the rise in aging populations will be one of these challenges, and one in which the needs and requirements between demographic cohorts will vary greatly. Although we need to create future smart age-friendly ecosystems to meet these needs, technology still does not feature in the WHO eight domains of an age-friendly city. This paper extends upon Marston and van Hoof’s ‘Smart Age-friendly Ecosystem’ (SAfE) framework, and explores how digital technology, design hacking, and research approaches can be used to understand a smart age-friendly ecosystem in a post-pandemic society. By exploring a series of case studies and using real-life scenarios from the standpoint of COVID-19, we propose the ‘Concept of Age-friendly Smart Ecologies (CASE)’ framework. We provide an insight into a myriad of contemporary multi-disciplinary research, which are capable to initiate discussions and bring various actors together with a positive impact on future planning and development of age-friendly ecosystems. The strengths and limitations of this framework are outlined, with advantages evident in the opportunity for towns, regions/counties, provinces, and states to take an agile approach and work together in adopting and implement improvements for the greater benefits of residents and citizens.


This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Marston, H., Shore, L. & White, P. 2020, 'How does a (Smart) Age-Friendly Ecosystem Look in a Post-Pandemic Society?', International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(21), article no: 8276. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17218276

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Last updated: 17 June 2022
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