User-centered redesign in Housing and Care

Dr. Clarine van Oel Vincent Gruis

The ability to sustain long-term care systems lies at the heart of the policy debate in Western European countries. The principle of personalisation in home care services, in which the older person is at the centre of their care management, has gained acceptance in the Netherlands.  Most recent policy changes in long-term care have emphasised the need for increasing choice and flexibility for disabled older people in the Netherlands (Tinker, Ginn, Ribe, Learning, & Network, 2013). However, there has been little attention to designing services according to users’ needs and there is a lack of knowledge of what affordances housing needs to offer to support well-being (Clapham, 2011).

A key element of the concept of well-being is its subjectivity, and therefore wellbeing has to be individually investigated, and is socially situated. Social practices differ over time, between national cultures and in places. Therefore, considering the influence of different social practices allows to study and compare  the affordances that housing needs to offer to people to support wellbeing.

We welcome research proposals that  take up a user-centered research-by-design approach aimed at generating design solutions for renewal of independent and sheltered housing. 3D virtual reality design models of housing situations, using discrete choice experiments, have potential in assessing its affordances (Riccardo, Van Oel, & De Jong, 2012), building on for example:

  • Clapham, D. (2011). The Embodied Use of the Material Home: An Affordance Approach. Housing, Theory and Society, 28, 360-376.
  • Riccardo, F., Van Oel, C., & De Jong, P. (2012). Neighbourhood regeneration by facade redesign: A visual experiment on energy efficiency and aesthetics. The International Journal of Architectonic, Spatial, and Environmental Design, 6, 57-80.
  • Tinker, A., Ginn, J., Ribe, E., Learning, H., & Network, I. (2013). Assisted Living Platform: The Long Term Care Revolution: a Study of Innovatory Models to Support Older People with Disabilities in the Netherlands: King's College London.