Design for well-being in older people’s residential environments - Sustainable Design in Finland and Sweden
Paper in proceeding, 2011

Good design in residential areas promotes socially sustainable neighborhoods, the well being of the residents and the notion of “aging in place”. Stimulating environment engages residents to their neighborhood and encourages communication. Beneficial spatial design helps in way finding and increases the sense of security. Theme This paper focuses on the common spaces in residential environments for elderly. User-centric, residential environments that promote social and physical accessibility can be attained by means of spatial planning, acoustics and lightning as well as other architectural means. With aging the living environment becomes smaller and elderly spend lot of their time indoors. Elderly prefer to live in their own homes but at the same time they feel more isolated. New residential buildings have to be designed to extend the individual apartments to the common space and to facilitate social interactions. Common spaces also need to be useful for different kinds of activities in a short-time as well as in a long-time perspective. Methods Finnish and Swedish housing projects for elderly are studied. The design and use of common multipurpose spaces are analyzed through architectural plans, usability walk-through methods, observation of activities and use of spaces, and interviews with users. Results The study brings together Swedish and Finnish knowledge to support the design of the residential buildings for the elderly. The project will contribute to evidence-based knowledge concerning the common spaces in residential environments for elderly. The study findings should feed into policy on housing for older people which could enhance sustainability and the quality of living environments of this important section of our population.


Ira Werma

Leena Aalto

Marie Elf

Chalmers, Architecture

Inga Malmqvist

Chalmers, Architecture

SB11 World Sustainable Building Conference Proceedings

Areas of Advance

Building Futures (2010-2018)

Subject Categories

Civil Engineering

More information