Mobility and the impact of the physical and built environment on older men’s social connections

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Physical space and the built environment is gendered. This chapter draws on recent UK research on how older men’s connections are enabled or restricted by different aspects of the built environment. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 48 participants (24 male; 24 female) aged over 65 years to explore their travel and transport needs. The participants were placed in four different groups around their mobility: (1) older people who still drive; (2) public bus and community transport users; (3) non-drivers who regularly rely on friends and family (outside the immediate household) to give them lifts and; (4) people who walk. The findings are framed around mobility capital theory (Musselwhite and Scott, 2019) of infrastructure capital (physical properties of space, pavements, roads, bridges), individual capital (people’s skills, abilities, aptitudes, resilience), social capital (friends, family, other significant people) and cultural capital (societal norms, rules, laws). Key to successful connectivity in later life is good quality infrastructure, but men are much more likely to rely on this alone to connect to the things they want to do and people they want to. They are less likely to use social connections than women and have less cultural and individual capital resource to draw upon which have been richly formed during the life course for women. Recommendations are formed around improving men’s social capital and creating more opportunity for older men to come together socially is important. Cultural and individual capital may take generations to change and new cohorts may have these capital in more equal amounts between men and women.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAgeing, Men and Social Relations
Subtitle of host publicationNew Perspectives on Masculinities and Men’s Social Connections in Later Life
EditorsPaul Willis, Ilkka Pietilä , Marjaana Seppänen
Place of PublicationBristol
PublisherBristol University Press
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781447363071
ISBN (Print)9781447363057
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2023

Publication series

NameAgeing in a Global Context


  • Mobility
  • Transport
  • safety
  • public space
  • Walking
  • Giving up driving, driving cessation
  • Social Capital
  • Cultural capital
  • mobility capital


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