Sidse is an architect who worked in private practices in Denmark before moving into research. She is currently doing a PhD at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, investigating how architecture and design methods can be used to actively engage older people in a design process of creating their future desired environments.
Her research is practice based, and trying to address the gap she experienced when practicing, her focus is on creating the relevant link between research and practice.
Using architecture and design methods to engage older people of low SES in a participatory process about neighbourhood design – did we design physical or social environments?
Participatory processes and a bottom-up approach has rapidly emerged in the discussion about ageing in place, as well as when understanding, planning and designing age-friendly neighbourhoods.
This study aims to use architecture and design to improve the health and well-being among older people of low socio-economic status (SES) in a deprived area of Copenhagen through actively engaging them in co-designing their own new neighbourhood spaces.
Our findings show that there is a great potential in involving disadvantaged older people in a co-design process if the format is flexible and works around their daily rhythms and routines. Furthermore, design activities with very simple tasks and a visual dimension proved to be efficient when motivating the age group and enhancing a democratic process giving voice to both the fragile and agile.
This presentation unfolds the iterative co-design process from recruitment, immersion, ideation, prototyping and implementation of three urban scale design solutions built in Copenhagen in Autumn of 2017.
Our policy recommendations include, not to separate the involvement process from the actual end product and to acknowledge both as equally important outcomes. Especially in neighbourhood and community design, where the socio-spatial dimension makes the two highly interdependent.
In relation to this, we recommend to allocate resources for involving older people in a design process and to prioritize involvement in the later stages of the process (prototyping and implementation) as much as in the earlier stages (definition of problems and ideation).
Additionally, we recommend to actively use methods from architecture and design to target social and physical innovation within neighbourhood design, especially in deprived areas. The visual and tangible dimensions of the profession offer great opportunities for involving older people in complex and delicate discussions around their health and well-being.