Flexible Dwellings for Extended Living
Main project collaborators
Prof Ann Light, Northumbria University (Principal Investigator)
Andy Milligan, DJCAD, University of Dundee (Co-Investigator)
Carol Botten, Northern Architecture, Newcastle (Project Co-Manager and Consultant)
Andy Milligan (Co-Investigator)
Context and background
There is a necessity to assess the future of our homes when faced with the pressures of the 21st century – such as, an ageing population, increasing atomization of the family, expensive housing, environmental targets, spiralling energy costs, social isolation and ineffective care homes. Flexible Dwellings for Extended Living (FLEX) explores the potential for adapting our dwellings to deal with these challenges, by collaborating with communities of elders, researchers, industry and home owners to explore configurable spaces, flexible materials, green living, and pervasive media.
Aims and objectives
FLEX aims to explore the emotional and practical boundaries of private and public living so that existing homes can be retrofitted to support companionship, resource sharing and social resilience as people age. Co-design workshops involving the communities of Newcastle and Dundee will identify interests and values and assess how retrofitting a generation of homes could increase sociality. The project will target people in their 40s to 60s, for whom retirement is on its way.
The objectives are: to establish what is possible in terms of current household arrangements and to develop design guidelines based on user insights; to suggest alternatives to sheltered or specialist care accommodation, and thereby overcome social and practical problems of ageing; and to create new patterns of flexible dwelling that help people retain dignity, identity and control over their existing homes.
FLEX will involve participatory workshop, activities and recordings, as well as field studies of people’s homes. The project will benefit from the close work between academic, professional and community partners and aims to develop participatory practices in the interdisciplinary area between interior design and architecture.
Outputs will be captured in a magazine, using video, a blog, and presented in an exhibition in Newcastle and Dundee. Feedback from these sources will be inputted into the final evaluation of what is possible and desirable in modifying existing homes to accommodate a more socially resilient and supportive lifestyle.
These outputs will be incorporated in teaching materials in architecture, interior design, planning, social studies and social gerontology. The blog will be the primary dissemination route for academics and will demonstrate how valuable a shared information hub can be to interdisciplinary research. An archival account of the main aspects of the project, including innovations in methodology and findings will be published in a journal submission and also a special issue on The Future Home, focusing on participatory processes of design in architecture, planning and interior design.
- The Activity of Rhetoric
- Birth Environment Study
- Bigger Ears
- A Blueprint for Bacterial Life and Art
- Building Banter
- The Centre for Remote Environments
- Craft Festival Scotland
- Craft Innovation and Creative Development
- The Demarco Archives
- Design For Services
- Design in Action
- Designs for Life
- Designing for the 21st Century
- Designing transition to sustainability
- Enhancing Local Authorities' Community Engagement
- Entropic Modern
- Forensic & Medical Art
- GROW Observatory
- Hacking for Situated Civic Engagement
- Making Sense
- Making Sense of Creative Interactions
- Metamorphosis of Design Management Network
- The Museum of Loss and Renewal
- Narrative Exploration in Expanded Cinema
- Natural Magic
- Poetry Beyond Text: Vision, Text and Cognition
- Safer Spaces
- The South Georgia Heritage Trust
- Visual Effects Research Lab
- Visualising Our Maritime Heritage
- Window to the West