Architects, agency and the design process: creating supportive living environments for ageing

Sedgewick, Faye Barbara Alice (2022) Architects, agency and the design process: creating supportive living environments for ageing. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

Text (Doctoral Thesis)
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Ageing, social inclusivity and loneliness present ever evolving challenges for architects and designers of the built environment. Housing in particular, is influential to the health and wellbeing of older adults through functional ability, independence and social connectedness in everyday life. Shaping the future design of housing that responds to contemporary architectural needs of an ageing (older) population is a high priority.

Implicit ageism is evident within the built environment whereby the functional design of buildings continue to exclude the needs of older adults. Age-friendly environments have been identified as an inclusive approach to support healthy ageing. However, architects’ perceptions and practical application of age-friendliness when designing continues to be unclear. This is exacerbated by the lack of understanding about architects’ specific ways of knowing for socially responsible action during the design process.

Previous studies have focused on the interrelationship between health and housing, the age-friendly movement for ageing-in-place and the need for diverse housing options. Yet, there continues to be a lack of research into the influence of an architect’s agency and the design process when creating these age-friendly environments. This shines a light on the need for insight into the experiences of architects designing age-friendly housing.

This thesis adopts a Constructivist Grounded Theory methodology that supports an inductive research strategy. Specifically, it makes an original contribution to knowledge as it uncovers in detail, the experiences of architects on the frontline of creating supportive living environments for ageing. Five key actions of: 1.) Commitment, 2.) Informed Position, 3.) Deep Interrogation, 4.) Visual Communication, and 5.) Knowledge Acquisition and Dissemination were found to influence an architect’s agency and the design process within real world design practice. In addition, it develops a sketching research method that supports data analysis and the effective exchange of knowledge. This thesis will be of interest across architectural practice, policy-making and academia.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: housing design, healthy ageing, age-friendly design, architects experiences, constructivist grounded theory
Subjects: K100 Architecture
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Architecture and Built Environment
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2022 07:23
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2022 08:00

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