8 Dimensions of AFCs

The WHO Global Age-Friendly Cities project, in consultation with 33 cities in 22 countries, developed a list of eight dimensions of AFCs. These dimensions consider both the physical and social aspects of communities that contribute to independent and active aging.

 Use these dimensions to form the basis of your AFC planning:  
Outdoor Spaces and Public Buildings

Neighbourhoods that are safe and accessible enable outdoor activities and community engagement. This involves removing barriers that limit opportunities for people with mobility challenges or disabilities. It also involves allowing older adults to participate in social activities or to access important health and social services and businesses.


Personal mobility is affected by the condition and design of transportation-related infrastructure such as signage, traffic lights and sidewalks. Access to reliable, affordable public transit becomes increasingly important when driving becomes stressful or challenging.


The availability of appropriate, affordable housing with a choice of styles and locations and that incorporates flexibility through adaptive features is essential for age-friendly communities.

Social Participation

Interacting with family and friends is an important part of positive mental health and community awareness. Social participation involves the level of interaction that older adults have with other members of their community and the extent that the community itself makes this interaction possible.

Respect and Social Inclusion

Community attitudes of respect and recognition to the role older adults play in our society are critical to establishing an age-friendly community. Age-friendly communities foster positive images of aging and intergenerational understanding to challenge negative attitudes.

Civic Participation and Employment

Civic engagement involves activities that enable older adults to contribute to their community, such as volunteering, becoming politically active, voting, and working on committees. Age-friendly communities enable older adults to remain employed or find new employment. This also benefits employers who recognize the experience and commitment that older employees bring to the workplace.

Communication and Information

 Age-friendly communities ensure information about community events or important services is readily accessible and in formats that are appropriate for older adults. An age-friendly community also recognizes the diversity of older adults and promotes outreach initiatives to non-traditional families, ethno-cultural minorities, newcomers and Aboriginal communities.

Community Support and Health Services

 A range of services that help promote, protect, and maintain independence and mental and physical health should be available and accessible to people of all ages and health statuses.

 For examples of each dimension, view the WHO Age-Friendly Checklist.