BIOPICCC: Built Infrastructure for Older People in Conditions of Climate Change

November 2009 to October 2012

Prof Sarah Curtis, Durham University, Dr Dimitry Val, Heriot-Watt University

AIM: To develop a methodology for selecting locally sensitive, efficient adaptation strategies during the period up to 2050 to ensure that the infrastructures and health and social care systems supporting well-being of older people (i.e. those aged 65 and over) will be sufficiently resilient to withstand harmful impacts of climate change.


  • Identify locations within the UK that are most at risk from relevant aspects of climate change and the nature of the changes.
  • Within the zones at greatest risk from climate change, identify ‘case study’ communities (neighbourhoods or small settlements) in urban and rural settings with high concentrations of older people and with a range of socio-economic conditions.
  • Engage stakeholders within the selected ‘case study’ communities and also at national and international levels. With their help, we will determine crucial aspects of living conditions, which sustain well-being of older people, and identify the key elements of health and social care systems and related infrastructures, which are important for maintaining these conditions in the case of weather hazards.
  • Identify different design and management solutions, including a probabilistic evaluation of their life-cycle costs, to improve resilience of health/social care systems and related infrastructures with emphasis on the previously identified key elements.
  • In collaboration with providers and users of services and other expert informants, develop strategies to integrate these design options into wider procedures and policies and disseminate knowledge about how to adapt built infrastructure to support older people’s health and well-being under changing climatic conditions.

The BIOPICCC Toolkit provides resources to assist local authorities, partner organisations, and neighbourhood and community groups with local level resilience planning. In particular, the toolkit supports planning to make health and social care services for older people more resilient to the effects of extreme weather.

  • BIOPICCC toolkit on Durham University website

Key messages for local authorities

Working with the East Riding of Yorkshire and Horsham District Councils, BIOPICCC developed high level messages to help create local plans for the adaptation of health and social care services to climate change. These main messages are transferable to other English local authorities who wish to provide more weather resilient buildings and services.

  • Research Briefing 1: Mapping future risks of extreme weather and growth in older populations paper (pdf, 580 KB). Many areas in England are projected to see an increase in severe weather over the next 30 years. Demographic changes mean that in some areas we may also need to care for high proportions of older people who may be particularly vulnerable to extreme weather hazards. The BIOPICCC project is examining where and how these two pressures coincide requiring significant adaptations to be made. This research is helping to inform local planning and local action to enhance resilience to climate change in an aging population.

July 2012: Community resilience, meeting with Cabinet Office and Defra

June 2012: Adapting health and social care infrastructure to climate change: Tools to support resilience planning, Utrecht, Netherlands

  • Workshop, organised by the BIOPICCC Team, the European Health Property Network (EuHPN) and TNO (The Netherlands Association for Applied Scientific Knowledge) brought together researchers and practitioners from the UK ARCC CN and the Dutch Knowledge for Climate Programme.

May 2012: BIOPICCC workshop: Adapting to climate change in health and social care: mapping future hazards, vulnerabilities and risks:

  • Electronic copies of the programme, speaker biographies and presentations are now available to download from the BIOPICCC website.

October 2011: Climate change, risk and resilience: lessons for health and social care:

  • Papers and presentations from the meeting can be found on the BIOPICCC website.

June 2011: Meeting with the Scottish Government:

September: 2010 Joint stakeholder/researcher forum:

  • Oven, K.J., Curtis, S.E., Reaney, S., Rivaa, M., Ohlemüller, R., Dunn, C.E., Nodwell, S., Dominelli, L. and Holden, R. 2011. Climate change and health and social care: Defining future hazard, vulnerability and risk for infrastructure systems supporting older people’s health care in England. Applied Geography, doi:10.1016/j.apgeog.2011.05.012. Download abstract (pdf, 100 KB).
  • K.J. Oven, S.E. Curtis, S. Reaney, M. Riva, M.G. Stewart, R. Ohlemüller, C.E. Dunn, S. Nodwell, L. Dominelli, R. Holden. (2012). Climate change and health and social care: Defining future hazard, vulnerability and risk for infrastructure systems supporting older people’s health care in England. Applied Geography 33: 16–24. Abstract: