This study draws attention to ageist stereotypes and assumptions of older people held by professionals involved in the policy, design and planning of the built environment, in particular residential complexes. Data was collected as part of a larger study concerned with the growth in specialised spaces for older people segregated from the community. The first stage of the study explored the views and experiences of professionals through interviews and working documents. Analysis revealed policy and practice was underpinned by ageist assumptions. These findings provide evidence of the pervasive nature of ageism in our society and how it is inextricably linked to purpose built housing for older people. Indeed the built environment can be seen to be both as a cause and effect of ageism.