Research project = thesis

CODESIGN – Co-design schemes with residents and stakeholders for the evolution of housing design for older people

Space design, landscape & lifestyle

CODESIGN is a co-led thesis (CRENAU/Design Lab Care). Its focus is on adapting housing (buildings, spaces and support arrangements) for an ageing population. The research is based on a design-anthropology approach which actively involves service users in the co-design process; with the researcher acting as facilitator and observer.

About the project

Adapting existing housing to the needs of an ageing population will be a major challenge for societies for decades to come. The concept of housing can be understood in terms of a building, its spaces, and its human and technical support arrangements, but also in terms of residents’ own ecosystems. Older people have novel insights, stemming from their behaviour and customs. As their levels of frailty vary, a range of solutions is needed in terms of human and technical support and adapted and adaptable housing. It would therefore appear to be essential to work with senior citizens from the design stage. This research asks the following questions: how can we enable older people to express themselves and make their needs known to public and private developers when it comes to adaptations and individual accommodation? What spontaneous forms of communication do older people use with others around them that can enable everyone to contribute to the co-design project?

This thesis is funded 50% by West Creative Industries and 50% by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication.


The project offers extensive potential for activities: public workshops/presentations (“Habitat” Nantes Métropole); contribution to a debate on ageing initiated by Nantes Métropole in 2017 and 2018, participation in Leroy Merlin Assises de l’Habitat events; a brochure for the general public including an online version in animated form; organisation of a symposium, new scientific partnerships between ENSA Nantes and the École de Design Nantes Atlantique; transfer of expertise and know-how through Labo workshops at the École de Design Nantes Atlantique, and at AAU and ENSA Nantes through lectures, meetings, and open workshops; new collaborative projects with public and private partners; changing the attitudes of public and private stakeholders so that they consider ageing in their operations; and presentation of the results to social and economic stakeholders.


November 2016 – December 2017: Scientific and methodological overview – Trial of tools and methods – Problematization
January 2018 – December 2018: Field studies in two stages – Personalised, semi-structured interviews and collaborative and participatory co-design workshops – Re-examine situations which raise questions to enhance the subject of co-design involving older residents – Summary.
January 19-March 2020: Writing of thesis report -Presentation – Symposium.


Daniel Siret, Director, CNRS AAU joint research unit –


Gaël Guilloux, Director, Design Lab Care, Director of Chair Public Innovative Design & Action, Sustainable Innovation and Innovation in Health and Social Care –


Markéta Fingerová, doctoral student AAU – ENSA Nantes joint research unit and Care Design Lab –

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