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Our Latest News Stories
New design guidance launched
Originally issued in 2007, the document has been completely revised and updated to reflect findings from the second phase of Inclusive Design for Getting Outdoors, I'DGO TOO. It was launched at the Local Government Association annual conference and exhibition in Manchester, where I'DGO hosted a fringe reception and panel debate to mark the close of the consortium. Based on the views of over 1,600 pedestrians, street audits and key sources of existing UK guidance, it includes advice on providing accessible crossing amenities that send out a consistent message to all users and flags the importance of raising awareness among pedestrians as to how crossings work and why.
Goodbye to I'DGO at successful LGA fringe event
Professor Catharine Ward Thompson opened the evening with an overview of I'DGO findings, before introducing a team of four expert panellists who debated ‘easy wins’ for local government in providing inclusive access to outdoor environments. Chaired by Professor James Goodwin of Age UK, the panel included Paul McGarry of Manchester City Council, Alex Luck of A Luck Associates and Professor Marcus Ormerod of the SURFACE Inclusive Design Research Centre. The audience comprised delegates from a range of organisations, including Sustrans, PRP Architects, the Royal Town Planning Institute and BDP Ltd.
I'DGO celebrates close of KT-EQUAL
As well as presentations, demonstrations and an exhibition, the event incorporated the launch of the final KT-EQUAL publication, "Making a Difference; our impact and legacy". Speaking on behalf of the project’s wide team of partners and advisors, Prof James Goodwin, Head of Research at Age UK, described KT-EQUAL as a "paradigm of excellence" in knowledge exchange across stakeholders, methods and disciplines.
I'DGO Director addresses Research Opportunities Workshop
Facilitated by Professor Stephanie Marshall, Deputy Chief Executive of The Higher Education Academy, the event brought together experts in gerontology, design and healthcare to discuss collaborative, multi-disciplinary research opportunities and pathways to realising them. Hosted by the University of Manchester, the workshop was a platform for Catharine to discuss the impact achieved by I'DGO, as well as to look forward to new research project, Mobility, Mood and Place (MMP), of which she is Principal Investigator. Other presenters at the workshop included the University of Salford’s Ricardo Codinhoto, a colleague of I'DGO team members from the LLHW pilot project, Going Outdoors: Falls, Ageing & Resilience (Go Far).
Catharine Ward Thompson addresses European conference
Entitled ‘Toward an age-friendly EU by 2020’, the conference showcased various examples of research, policy and practice from across the EU supporting healthy ageing and the active participation in society of older people. Catharine spoke as part of a round table discussion on age-friendly products, buildings, transport, ICT and tourism, attracting an audience of around 125 delegates from a range of stakeholder groups and questions relating to the challenges of financing age-friendly placemaking and older people’s preferences for non-segregated space. Joining Catharine at the event in Brussels were Mary Craig, policy liaison specialist, and colleagues from the knowledge exchange consortium, KT-EQUAL.
I'DGO at social science parliamentary reception
Sponsored by Christina McKelvie MSP, the event showcased the Future of the UK and Scotland programme funded by the Economic and Social Science Research Council (ESRC), presented earlier in the day at the University of Edinburgh. As well as Ms McKelvie MSP, the reception featured short presentations by Prof Paul Boyle (CEO of the ESRC), Prof Charlie Jeffery (Research Coordinator of the Future of the UK and Scotland programme) and Prof Jo Shaw (Dean of Research at the University of Edinburgh’s College of Humanities and Social Science). Delegates included MSPs, representations from the European Commission and European Parliament delegations in Edinburgh, Scotland Europa and the Scottish Government Social Research unit.
Manchester City Council for I'DGO LGA event
The event, which will take the form of a panel discussion and audience Q&A, is scheduled for Tuesday 2nd July at the Local Government Association (LGA) annual conference and exhibition in Manchester. Paul McGarry will represent the City Council, which is one of 18 non-academic bodies partnering new research project, Mobility, Mood and Place (starting in September 2013), funded under the cross-council Lifelong Health and Wellbeing programme. Led by I'DGO Director, OPENspace, with Prof Catharine Ward Thompson as Principal Investigator, Mobility, Mood and Place will build on I'DGO’s work, exploring how the built environment can be designed in a user-centred way to make mobility easy, enjoyable and meaningful for older people.
To register an interest in Getting out and about; what’s it worth?, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Leading Australian academic gives visiting lecture
An environmental psychologist, Evonne’s research focuses on the interrelationships between people and their built, technical and natural environments, with an emphasis on complex, ‘real world’ challenges, including climate change, sustainability and population ageing. In her presentation, she discussed findings from a range of recent research projects with a geronotological focus, including several exploring the impact of the built environment on older people’s quality of life, physical activity levels and active ageing. One study, funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC), had particular resonance for Inclusive Design for Getting Outdoors (I'DGO), in that it combined technology, diaries and interviews to track older people’s activity levels outside the home environment.
I'DGO awarded diploma in major international prize
In recognition of I'DGO’s top three placing in the awards scheme, the diploma entitles the consortium to free membership of the Foundation’s international networks for one year. Presented at a ceremony held as part of the International Design Biennial in Saint-Étienne, France, the prizes were judged by a 13-strong jury headed by Francesc Aragall, President of the Design for All Foundation, which promotes examples of best practice in Design for All (inclusive / universal design), globally. Speaking of I'DGO’s success, Professor Catharine Ward Thompson said "we are delighted to win this diploma, which recognises our contribution to policy and practice development in the UK and beyond. It is a very fitting end to the European Year of Active Ageing, and a great testament to international efforts to promote quality of life into oldest age".
I'DGO announced as international awards finalist
Drawing international attention to examples of best practice in Design for All (inclusive / universal design), the awards recognise public, private and not-for-profit initiatives across the world which aim to enable everyone to participate in society on an equal basis. Headed by Francesc Aragall, President of the Design for All Foundation, the 13-strong jury includes representatives from the USA, Japan and five European countries, including the UK. The winners will be announced later this month at a ceremony held at the International Design Biennial in Saint-Étienne, France.
I'DGO at Ecobuild
Participating in the conference stream on ‘Design, architecture & sustainability’, Rita addressed the theme of ‘What about the over 70s?’, drawing on key messages from Inclusive Design for Getting Outdoors (I'DGO) and the Go Far project, of which Rita’s research centre, SURFACE, is the lead partner. In a session chaired by Lord Richard Best OBE, Chair of the Housing our Ageing Population: Panel for Innovation (HAPPI) Panel and President of the Local Government Association, Rita also shared thoughts on the challenges facing designers in creating inspirational neighbourhoods for ageing-in-place. Joining her in the panel discussion were David Birkbeck, Chief Executive of Design for Homes, and Maria Brenton, Member of the UK Cohousing Network Board and Project Advisor to the Older Women’s Cohousing Group.
I'DGO at Plaid Cymru Spring Conference
The event was addressed by Ieuan Wyn Jones AM, Welsh Assembly Member for Ynys Môn, who has previously supported the consortium’s work at the presentation of its research findings in the Senedd, Cardiff (May 2012). Professor Marcus Ormerod and Rita Newton also spoke at the event, which highlighted easy ‘wins’ in the local environment which can end isolation and help older people get out and about, reducing the need for social and residential care. Delegates included Llyr Gruffydd AM, Jill Evans MEP, Councillor Chris Franks of the Vale of Glamorgan Council and representatives of Age Cymru, RNIB Cymru and the office of The Older People’s Commissioner for Wales.
Japan seeks I'DGO expertise in building cities of the future
The visit was part of a factfinding mission by PricewaterhouseCoopers Aarata, who have been tasked by the Japanese Government to research environmentally-friendly and age-friendly cities around the world as part of the "FutureCity" initiative. I'DGO was approached on the strength of the consortium’s "valuable approach to realising age-friendly cities", including its liaison with the London Borough of Camden and the WHO Age-Friendly City of Edinburgh Council. Delegates from the latter who attended the meeting included four members of its Advisory Group on A City for All Ages; Edinburgh’s Joint Plan for Older People.
I'DGO celebrates launch of new research centre
Under the leadership of Professor Nanette Mutrie, who spoke at the event, the PAHRC aims to become an internationally recognised centre of excellence in the field of physical activity for health; providing research evidence on how to encourage people of all ages to ‘sit less and walk more’. I'DGO materials were displayed at the event, together with promotional literature for related research project, Go Far, in line with PAHRC’s particular interest in older adults. The Keynote Speaker at the event was Professor Fiona Bull of the University of Western Australia; an International Expert Advisor to I'DGO.
Visit the PAHRC website
WISE researcher at invited HCA dementia workshop
Hosted at Eland House, headquarters of the Department for Communities and Local Government, the aim of the event was for experts in the field to set out their thinking on the forward agenda of the UK Dementia and Housing Working Group. The Group has been established by the National Housing Federation and the Department for Communities and Local Government as part of the Prime Minister’s ‘Dementia Challenge’; to build on progress made through the National Dementia Strategy to improve the lives of people with dementia, their families and carers. The workshop invitees were asked to consider best practice and innovation in the field, to set out some aspirations and ideals which might be fed into the plans of the Working Group, and to look at how to best raise wider awareness and understanding of these issues in the housing sector generally.
Find out more about the Dementia Challenge
I'DGO team at Edinburgh City Chambers
Hosted by the Health and Social Care department of the City of Edinburgh Council, the meeting addressed road safety and its impact on older people’s physical activity choices and levels in older age. Catharine Ward Thompson spoke at the event, together with the Council’s Road Safety Manager, Caroline Burwell, and Ashleigh Corry of the Steady Steps programme at Edinburgh Leisure. Since 2000, the City for All Ages Advisory Group has played a key role in improving the quality of life of older people in Edinburgh, a WHO-recognised Age-Friendly City since 2006.
George Square letter published in The Herald
Responding to the publication of six shortlisted designs for the new-look public square, which is the subject of an international urban design competition, the letter describes the redevelopment as "an exciting opportunity to see inclusive design incorporated into the heart of civic architecture" that should have one main purpose; "the creation of a place for everyone to enjoy". With Professor Catharine Ward Thompson as lead author, it calls for "benches that are easy to reach and comfy to sit on; features that are great to look at but not a hazard for people with any impairment; and pedestrian crossings that give you time to cross". In a letter to the same paper of 14 January 2013, Norman Armstrong (Free Wheel North) says that I'DGO has made "vital points" and that "The 2014 legacy for George Square should be the creation of a healthy environment worthy of the OPENspace research centre at Edinburgh University".
I'DGO methods interview in External Works Focus
The interview, involving Professor Marcus Ormerod of SURFACE and Rob Shaw of the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL), also features on the new-look Theories & Methods page of the I'DGO website, in a section entitled Refining the Tools of the Trade. In the interview, Marcus and Rob describe how I'DGO, in collaboration with HSL, developed new protocols for assessing pedestrian slip risk on tactile paving in external environments, using standard tools such as a Stanley-Munro pendulum and Mitutoyo SJ201P surface roughness meter. The methodology formed part of a toolkit for assessing the siting, design and laying of tactile paving at 48 road crossings in the UK as part of the I'DGO TOO study on older people’s pedestrian mobility.