Gentleman enjoying freedom of being outdoors with wheelchair


Prof Sarah Wigglesworth

University of Sheffield

January 2014 to December 2016

AIM: The project investigated how the co-design of houses and neighbourhoods can facilitate mobility and well-being for current and future generations of older people.



Local residents from neighbourhoods across Sheffield played an active role in the research process. Around 150 older residents were directly involved as participants in the project, with many more providing feedback via our public engagement events.

During the first year, DWELL used interviews and focus group discussions to explore the issues facing older residents and communities in Sheffield. We then invited residents to join one of our co-design groups, which each tackled a different aspect of Age-friendly housing and neighbourhoods.

Our neighbourhood-based groups explored issues of how their local environment could be improved for older residents and others. Meanwhile, our citywide group focused on the existing shortage of options for ‘downsizers’, and worked with us to develop a range of new housing typologies.

Main project outcomes

The project team collaborated closely with the City Council to examine current policy and practice relating to the planning, commissioning and management of housing for an ageing population.

Over the course of the project, DWELL designers and researchers have contributed to the development and evaluation of ongoing projects the the Council and their partners, including the design of specialist housing and accessible public realm.

Working alongside Council officers, DWELL researchers provided part of the evidence base to support the development of Local Plan policy options related to older person’s housing. DWELL were also involved in providing evidence for the draft Older Person’s Independent Living Strategy in 2016.