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Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

Universal Design & Higher Education in Transformation Congress,

30th October -2nd November 2018, Dublin Castle


Abstract. Inclusion is important factor for life satisfaction and wellbeing at any age. Housing design and neighbourhood planning can enhance possibilities for social and physical activities of older persons who live in their own homes. Access to local services and walking friendly environment may promote integration and independent coping. This paper is introducing an ongoing doctoral thesis in the field of architecture focusing on the urban living environment from the viewpoint of older residents. The target of the study has been to gain further knowledge on age-friendly built environment applying Universal Design principles. The case study method was implemented in three scales, neighbourhood, immediate surroundings of apartment buildings, and shared spaces in housing. The case studies were carried out in Finland, in Helsinki area. Workshops and observational walking tours with residents as well as interviews and questionnaires targeted to persons aged 65 years old and over were used to assess the living environment and access to local services. Senior residents self-reported experiences revealed the challenges in the built environment. Access to local services, green areas and other spaces in shared use in the neighbourhood were reported to enhance general wellbeing and encourage cross-generational encounters. Intersectional collaboration for planning service infrastructure, transportation network, access to social activities is necessary when designing living environments that support independent and self-contained life at old age. Moreover, collaboration with relevant local stakeholders promote inclusion and age-friendly environment.

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