Design for Wellbeing: Ageing and Mobility in the Built Environment

Image taken by Garry Knight

Departments: Centre for Housing Policy, Health Sciences, Computer Science, and the Stockholm Environment Institute at York.

Project Director: Prof Becky Tunstall

The 'Co-Motion Consortium' led by Professor Becky Tunstall of the Centre for Housing Policy has secured £1.2M funding from the EPSRC, ESRC and AHRC for a three year ‘Design for Wellbeing’ project investigating the links between mobility and wellbeing amongst older people. 

The consortium, which includes York Departments Computer Science, Health Sciences and the Stockholm Environment Institute as well as colleagues from the University of Leeds, University of Newcastle and Northumbria University aims to create a step-change in mobility and wellbeing in later life.  The work will include a longitudinal study of older people in York, Hexham and Leeds who have experienced transitions affecting mobility and wellbeing, and will lead into intensive co-design workshops with older people and local and national stakeholders.

Our approach has five distinctive, equally ranking objectives:

1.      Transitions and time. We aim to explore mobility and wellbeing for older people going through critical but common life transitions such as losing a driving license, losing sight, losing a partner, becoming a carer or starting to use a mobility scooter.

2.      Consensus and contradiction. We will investigate and address variation and contradictions in needs of different groups of older people, and between different built environment agendas and guidance.

3.      Participation. We will work very closely with a relatively large and diverse group of older people and local stakeholders in the built environment, ageing and wellbeing. Older people and stakeholders will act not only as informants but as co-operators and co-designers.

4.      Complements and alternatives. In proposing interventions to promote mobility and wellbeing, we will focus on complements or alternatives to physical design or redesign of the built environment.

5.      Impact. In addition to concepts and knowledge the project will also provide a suite of tested models and prototypes: crowdsourcing and participatory GIS for mobility information gathering and analysis; deliberative methods in identifying consensus and priorities; tested prototype technologies to provide alternatives and complements to changes to the built environment; Initial evidence on the impact of prototype technologies on mobility and wellbeing.

Funding: EPSRC, ESRC and AHRC