The Meaning of Social Participation for Daily Mobility
in Later Life: an Ethnographic Case Study of a Senior
Project in a Swedish Urban Neighbourhood
Published online: 5 June 2017
The Author(s) 2017. This article is an open access publication
Abstract This paper presents an ethnographic case study that aims to understand the
meaning of social participation in a neighbourhood for daily mobility in later life. In the
study, the mobility of the participants of a senior-citizen project was monitored over
18 months. The project was founded as a result of a municipal district’s targeting of
social sustainability. The results show that social participation had positive effects on
the daily mobility of the participants. The implementation of broad-minded thinking
from the municipality and the cooperation of various municipal actors were shown to
be essential for the positive outcome of this project.
Mobility is considered essential in our everyday lives, especially for social participation
and managing everyday activities (Levasseur et al. 2015;Hjorthol2013; Schwanen and
Ziegler 2011; Ziegler and Schwanen 2011;Mollenkopfetal.2004a, b); and it is central
in enabling older people to participate in society (Zeitler et al. 2012;Mollenkopfetal.
2004a; Mollenkopf et al. 2004b). Moreover, it is often the case that mobility is
associated with independence and freedom, while a lack of mobility can give rise to
feelings of social deprivation and exclusion (Urry 2007).
Ageing Int (2017) 42:374–391
* Vanessa Stjernborg
Department of Urban Studies, Faculty of Culture and Society, Malmö University, -205 06 Malmö,
K2 – The Swedish Knowledge Centre for Public Transport, Scheelevägen 2, 223 81 Lund,