Design for wellbeing: Innovative research methods for understanding older people’s everyday mobility.

There is wide recognition that the design of the environment can contribute to promoting independent mobility, healthy activity and social engagement among an increasingly older population (MRC, 2010, A strategy for collaborative ageing research in the UK). A growing corpus of research is focusing on how design influences older people’s mobility and how this directly and indirectly impacts wellbeing.

BESiDE Team members travelled to Oxford for a one day seminar on April 21st 2015.  The objective of the seminar was to bring together projects funded under the Lifelong Health and Wellbeing (LLHW) cross-council ageing research programme to discuss innovative methods (and challenges) for understanding older people’s mobility and wellbeing and the implications for design – For more information see

The seven projects funded under the Design for Wellbeing: Ageing and mobility in the built environment call are:

  1. cycle BOOM  Oxford Brookes University, University of the West of England, Cardiff University, University of Reading, DfT, Sustrans)
  2. MyPLACE: Mobility and PLace for the Age-friendly City Environment (Newcastle University, Northumbria University)
  3. BESiDE: The Built Environment for Social Inclusion in the Digital Economy (University of Dundee)
  4. Co-Motion (University of York, Medical Research Council, Design Council, Living Streets, Royal Town Planning Institute)
  5. Street mobility and accessibility: developing tools for overcoming older people’s barriers to walking (University College London, British Geriatrics Society)
  6. Mobility, Mood and Place: a user-centred approach to design of built environments to make mobility easy, enjoyable and meaningful for older people (University of Edinburgh)
  7. How better design can facilitate mobility, connectivity & wellbeing for older people: a participatory approach to design research. (University of Sheffield)

The event was supported by the British Society of Gerontology to encourage researchers to connect with each other.

  • To share practice and knowledge of innovative methods being used to enhance understanding of mobility in later life and the implications for wellbeing and design.
  • To connect researchers engaged in researching ageing and mobility in the built environment and implications for wellbeing and design.
  • To explore ways of building networks and disseminating outcomes from research activities, for example, in the mobilities domain.

Professor Vicki L. Hanson, Dr Lesley J. McIntyre and Marianne Dee from BESiDE  at Dundee, attended. We took part in discussions, networked and made contact with the other projects and hope to take part in further workshops in the near future.



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