This article considers ageing in cities of the Global South, with a particular focus on urban transformation and place-making in the old city center of Patan, Kathmandu Valley. Building upon discussions evolving around concepts such as ‘active ageing’, ‘environmental gerontology’ and ‘age-friendly cities’, terms largely coined in northern America and western Europe, the article addresses their productivity – and challenges – when applied in the case of Nepal. It considers a larger field of ageing in the realm of transcultural place-making, since the contextualization includes global circulations of ideas and practices related to cultural heritage, transnational migration and urban transformation through economic liberalization. The ethnographic material collected between 2014 – 17 among Newar senior residents is discussed with respect to questions of ownership, participation and responsibility. It highlights the entangled relationship of socio-religious relations and built environment, as well as intangible heritage, seeking to stress the importance of ephemeral and interstitial spaces that do not necessarily resonate with ‘global’ concepts of public and private, wellbeing and development.