Design tool evaluates living environments of older people

1 min read

Researchers at Sheffield University have developed a housing design tool that could help to improve the quality of life of older people in the UK.

The EVOLVE (Evaluation of Older People’s Living Environments) evaluation tool, which has been funded by the Economic and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), can be used to assess how well a building contributes to both the physical support of older people and their personal wellbeing.

The tool was developed by a team from the School of Architecture at Sheffield University and the Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU) at Kent University, in partnership with the Department of Health Housing Learning and Improvement Network (LIN) and the Elderly Accommodation Counsel (EAC).

The EVOLVE tool, which is free to download, can be used to assess a housing development, as a briefing and design guide or to evaluate design proposals for new buildings. EVOLVE is designed to evaluate a range of buildings in terms of how well the accommodation and facilities it offers support older people, not the number of facilities available. Therefore, a small building with limited facilities can score the same as a large complex development.

Judith Torrington, a reader in architecture at Sheffield University, said: ’The population of people aged over 65 will increase substantially over the next 25 years. It is important that the housing options available meet their needs both in terms of supporting them physically as they age and enabling them to maintain a good quality of life. EVOLVE is a tool that can be used to assess the design of the home environment, whether it is a large new housing development or an individual private home.’

An ageing society presents design opportunities for today’s engineers. Click here to read more.