The involvement of older people in the design of environments

Anthea Tinker, Iain Scott, Katherine Brookfield, Neil Thin, Catharine Ward Thompson, Gillian Mead, John Starr

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Purpose Older people have been involved in helping to co-design their local environments in England and Scotland as part of a large three year research project ‘Mobility, Mood and Place’1. It was funded through the Lifelong Health and Wellbeing Cross-Council Programme covering Engineering and Physical Sciences, Economic and Social Research and the Arts and Humanities. The research explores how places can be designed collaboratively to make pedestrian mobility easy, enjoyable and meaningful for older people. The focus is on out-door environments. Method In one strand of the research older people in Edinburgh, Manchester, London and Orkney have been brought together with designers in training (architects and landscape architects) and researchers to critique their local environments. They have met together and examined models of their home environments, made suggestions about changes and then revisited the plans for these environments where changes have been suggested. In addition focus groups and in-depth interviews have been held with specific groups including stroke survivors and people with dementia. Other parts of the project involved a non-random sample of older people wearing non-intrusive mobile neural recording headsets to record their responses to different environments, these ranged from busy streets to green open spaces, and research into how physical and social environments evolve over time and how these settings might impact on inequalities in health-related mobility as people enter older age. Results The emerging results of this ongoing research will be described together with a critique of how older people can be involved in this kind of re-search. The consultations showed that older people can make recommendations that may seem counter intuitive to staff doing the planning. Also they often produce recommendations that are focussed not on their own age group but for younger people. Focus groups are one method but individual interviews as well as walking round the site together can being in extra information. And workings with landscape architects with models of the site bring an extra dimension.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2016
Event10th World Conference on Gerontechnology - Palais de Mediterranee, Nice, United Kingdom
Duration: 28 Sept 201630 Sept 2016


Conference10th World Conference on Gerontechnology
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • environmental design
  • Older people
  • co-design


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