Dementia and Town Planning: Creating better environments for people living with dementia

Cover Dementia and town planning

This Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has updated its practice advice, endorsed by Alzheimer's UK and Public Health England and published to mark World Alzheimer's Day 2020. It sets out different approaches and tools town planners can use to ensure homes and local environments are dementia-friendly and highlights the vital role that town planning plays in dementia care in the UK, helping to reduce pressure on the NHS and controlling the costs for health and social care.

It gives advice on how good planning can create better environments for people living with dementia, ensuring public spaces and buildings help them to live independently and well for longer.

The advice, which updates a previous version published in 2017 (opens new window), includes evidence, facts, legislative context, tools and case studies to help planners create dementia-friendly homes and urban environments to enable those with the condition to remain in their own homes for as long as possible. It outlines a number of key principles that planners should adhere to when planning and designing dementia-friendly places, such ensuring clear street signage; easy access to open spaces with toilet facilities, seating, shelter and good lighting; wide, flat and non-slip footpaths. It also suggests that dementia-friendly homes should prioritise safety, have clearly defined rooms, non-reflective surfaces, simple patterns and sound-proofing.

It also gives advice on how town planners can work with other professions to create better environments for people living with dementia, citing case studies and examples from around the UK. The advice forms part of the RTPI's Plan The World We Need campaign that calls on governments across the UK and Ireland to capitalise on the expertise of planners to achieve a sustainable, resilient and inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The policy context applies to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the principles of good practice are applicable wherever you work.