Older Adults as Co-researchers for Built Environments: Virtual Reality as a Means of Engagement

  • Stephanie LiddicoatEmail author
  • Clare Newton


Participatory design is well established within technology design but less established within the field of architectural design. Based on previous research by the authors, this paper develops a methodological approach based on emerging technologies using residential aged care as the setting. The methodology incorporates virtual reality technologies and other visual elicitation strategies in order to involve current and potential users and families as co-designers/researchers. The authors have incorporated photo-elicitation and virtual reality techniques within research to involve participants in design conversations and as co-designers and evaluators of space. Previous research by Liddicoat developed guidelines for the design of counselling facilities based on co-research strategies with both client and consultant participants while Newton has used photo-elicitation and mapping as strategies of post-occupancy evaluation. Architectural design research processes which are inclusive of older adults as co-researchers is timely given the transformations that are occurring in the aged care sector, the current lack of involvement of older adults in built environment design and the lack of empirical evidence on what constitutes best design practice for residential aged care settings.


Participatory research methodology Evidence-based design Residential aged care design Virtual reality Photo-elicitation Architecture Built environment 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Architecture, Building and PlanningThe University of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia

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