The COVID-19 pandemic created a rapid shift from in-person exchanges, meetings and communication – moving to the majority of interactions taking place online. With so many activities being digitalised, those without access to technology or the skills needed to use it are being left behind and out of discussions. This has particularly impacted older adults, who may be at higher risk of social isolation. However, the pandemic has also created opportunities for intergenerational technology use. Many younger family members have helped older adults learn how to use video conferencing tools to stay connected with loved ones.
Considerations of accessibility in terms of participation were critical during COVID-19 in the CLEVER Cities project, not least regarding the project’s ambition to co-create nature-based solutions across the partner cities. Given this importance, this brief introduces the concept of a ‘digital divide’ and provides strategies for how to involve elderly and other vulnerable communities, on the basis of practical examples from the CLEVER Cities project. Specifically, an intergenerational approach to technology use is recommended which involves creating opportunities for people of different ages to learn from and interact with each other.