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Perspectives on "Novel" Techniques for Designing Age-Friendly Homes and Neighborhoods with Older Adults

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Katherine Brookfield, Iain Scott, Anthea Tinker, Catharine Ward Thompson

Original languageEnglish
Article number1800
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2020

King's Authors


Worldwide, growth in the older population creates a pressing need to develop supportive environments that enhance quality of life as people age. Too often, built environments present barriers and challenges to older adults that compromise independent living and adversely affect health and life outcomes. Designing homes, buildings, and neighborhoods with older adults, through exercises in participatory or co-design, could help ensure that environments are better able to facilitate healthy aging. However, while it is potentially advantageous to involve this age group in environmental design decisions, doing so can be difficult. Analysis of and guidance on effective ways to involve older adults in these activities could make the challenge easier. With this aim in mind, this article provides critical perspectives on eight "less traditional" engagement techniques-walking interviews, photovoice, photo-elicitation, Talking Mats®, participatory mapping, drawing, model-making, and the "Design Fair". Insights into the strengths and limitations of these techniques, gained from observation of their use in participatory design activities, as well as feedback collected from older co-design participants, are presented. The article concludes by offering a number of practical recommendations for those interested in designing age-friendly homes and neighborhoods with older people.

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