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Simon Fraser University

Place-Making with Seniors: Towards Meaningful Affordable Housing (Co-lead Researchers: Dr. Andrew Sixsmith, Director, Gerontology Research Centre, SFU, and Mr. Jack Mulleny, Volunteer, Kiwanis Seniors Society)

Housing that is not only affordable but also supportive of the psycho-social needs of seniors is fundamental to the health and well-being of our aging population. Community consultation has identified the need for housing interventions that build 'sense of place', ascribed through access to supports to keep mentally and physically active, opportunities to build social capital and facilitating an enhanced role for seniors in the design process. To address these needs our research will: (i) understand how sense of place is experienced by older adults transitioning into affordable housing (ii) translate resident experiences into formal and informal supports that foster meaningful aspects of place, and (iii) create a role for older people as active 'placemakers' in community planning and development. This project builds upon a strong partnership of local government, planners and developers, seniors's; services and Kiwanis seniors who are involved in the design of the affordable housing development & 'Kiwanis Towers'. The project represents a timely opportunity to build skills and capacity and embed residents' preferences in the design process. To ensure the meaningful engagement of older adults we will use a community-based participatory research approach, training residents as co-researchers and using participant-led research methods. The project will develop a Sense of Place Development Guide that has broader applicability in the design of housing supports for seniors. Research Team members: Ms. Dena Kae Beno, Project Team Member, Dr. Judith Sixmith, Academic Advisory, Dr. Ryan Woolrich, Researcher, and Mr. Brian Dagneault, Project Team Member.