Launch of the DWELL ‘Designing with Downsizers’ report

Designing with downsizers_print cover_revised1

This report captures some of the findings from the 3 year research and co-design process with residents from our ‘Citywide’ group in Sheffield, which represents a new approach to age-friendly general-needs housing. Building upon the work of the HAPPI commission, this research has developed a working definition for downsizer homes and proposes a series of co-designed typologies that respond to third-agers’ aspirations.

The research has demonstrated strong demand for better quality and more accessible ‘downsizer homes’, where people can continue to access neighbourhood amenities and participate in mixed-age community life.

Download a copy of the full report from Housing LIN here (pdf, 10MB).

Housetype diagrams

As a team we are exploring different ways to communicate the DWELL housetype design work to a wider audience. One way of doing this is to distil the key concepts behind each housetype into a series of simple diagrams.

Inspired by some recent diagrams produced by Paul Testa Architecture and this post on the website archdaily, these have been turned into animated gifs – including this one demonstrating the ‘Courtyard Bungalow’ type:



Launch of the DWELL/ HousingLIN ‘Fit for Ageing’ one-day workshop


The University of Sheffield and the Housing LIN are delighted announce this forthcoming workshop, presentation of research findings, and exhibition of co-design work from the EPSRC-funded DWELL project.

The aim of this event is to explore the changing role of the built environment in supporting the well-being and mobility of an ageing population. The workshop will provide an opportunity for a range of professionals to come together (built-environment, planning, design, health, community development, housing, and commissioning) to explore how creative design-led thinking can be applied to age-friendly places – with the aim of developing new visions for our towns and cities and joining up diverse resources at time of shrinking budgets.

Date: 6th October 2016, 10.00-16.30
Venue: Millennium Gallery, Arundel Gate, Sheffield, S1 2PP (5 min walk from Sheffield Station)
Programme: Download the Fit for Ageing outline programme here.

To register for this event please visit the registration page on the Housing LIN website at:

Please note that you will also be prompted to register as member of the HousingLIN network when you book a place (registration is free).

We hope to see you in October – it would be great if you could join us.

Downsizing Housetypes – work in progress

Over the past few months the DWELL team have been developing the citywide  ‘design for downsizing’  work into a series of model housetypes. These six housetypes have been designed to address a range of suburban and urban site conditions, and to the following 5 criteria:

  • Designed to HAPPI design principles (particularly in terms of daylighting, storage, and access to manageable outdoor space)
  • Designed to Approved Document Part M (2015) Category 2 (Lifetime Homes) accessibility standard, with most of the layouts capable of being adapted to Category 3 (Wheelchair Homes) accessibility standard.
  • Designed to balance higher densities with security and privacy.
  • Adaptable for different households and for changing requirements over the lifecourse.
  • Designed to form part of an attractive and accessible streetscape that promotes walking and social interaction.

To view or download work-in-progress versions of the housetypes, click on the links below, and please add any comments at the bottom of the page:

DWELL_Housing-typologies_process Participatory design process>> (0.6mb)
Courtyard bungalow Courtyard bungalow>> (4.6mb)
Chequerboard houses and bungalows Chequerboard houses and bungalows>> (2.3mb)
Hillside bungalows Hillside bungalows>> (2.6mb)
Deck access apartments Deck access apartments>> (2.2mb)
Cloister apartments (extra-care) Cloister apartments (extra-care)>> (2.2mb)
Urban village apartments Urban village apartments>> (3.5mb)

Exhibition at Sheffield School of Architecture, Weds 9th March

The DWELL project, led by Prof Sarah Wigglesworth, is working partnership with local residents and agencies to rethink the way that we design homes for later life.

This event is an opportunity to view and provide feedback on some of the DWELL design work in an informal setting.

Electronic versions of the work exhibited can also be viewed here:

Wednesday 9th March. ‘The Well’ – Floor 16, Arts Tower, S10 2TN.

Exhibition 2 – 7pm. Drinks + Nibbles from 5pm. Presentation of the research process at 5.30pm.

DWELL SSoA exhibition flyer_Mar

Celebration and Showcasing Event, 18th March

Over the last two years the DWELL project at the University of Sheffield has been working with groups of older local residents and stakeholders to develop designs for age-friendly housing and neighbourhoods.

We would like to invite interested Sheffield residents and professionals to celebrate all contributions to the project and the exciting achievements of the groups, and to participate in discussions with city planners of how these might be implemented.

The event will take place at St Mary’s Church Centre, Bramall Lane, Sheffield, S2 4QZ on Friday, 18th March 2016 from 10am -2pm (see programme below).

For further information and to book a place please contact Ann Clark, DWELL project administrator: or call Tel 0114 2220349.

DWELL showcasing flyer_Mar


10am Arrival and coffee
10.15 Welcome by Professor Sarah Wigglesworth (DWELL lead)
10.30 Introduction to the projects and DWELL design work
10.45 Viewing of exhibition & discussion with participants
11.15 Age-friendly Newcastle (Rose Gilroy, Professor of Ageing, Planning and Policy, Newcastle University)
12.00 Lunch
13.00 Roundtable discussion: How can the DWELL work contribute to an age-friendly Sheffield?
14.00 Close

Pop-up exhibition in Sheffield City Centre

In October DWELL researchers and city-wide participants hosted two exhibitions in Sheffield City Centre – the first at the Winter Garden and the second at a stall in the new Moor Market. We had a busy two days, with hundreds of conversations with residents and visitors and lots of interest in our ideas for ‘Age-friendly’ Urban Living in Sheffield City Centre. Thanks to everyone who helped out in making the events such a success!

The next step will be to analyse the written feedback and reflections from the exhibitions in order to inform the next stage of the design process.

Further details of the DWELL designs for urban living can be found here, and a selection of photos from the two events can be viewed below:

DWELL Winter Garden event_1DWELL Winter Garden event_4 DWELL Winter Garden event_5 DWELL Winter Garden event_6DWELL Moor market event_1DWELL Moor market event_2 DWELL Moor market event_3 DWELL Moor market event_4

Designs for Age-friendly urban living launched

The ‘City-wide’ group of Sheffield residents has been developing ideas for housing in later life with architects and researchers from the DWELL project. The ‘Age-friendly Urban Living’ exhibition, which launched at Sheffield’s Winter Garden on October 16th 2015, imagines how different types of homes – from townhouses to supported living – could be developed near to the facilities and amenities of Sheffield city centre.

We selected Sylvester Gardens as a case study site from a number of vacant brown-field sites in the city centre. The site is near to St Mary’s Gate and is conveniently located close to the Moor Market shopping area, train station, theatres and cinema.

Citywide group members initially worked to create their ‘ideal’ homes for down-sizing in later life. Blocks of these houses and apartments were then arranged on the Sylvester Gardens site along with a public park, footpaths, and shared facilities.

Through a process of further workshops, site visits and hands-on design sessions, group members envisaged their ideal neighbourhood on the site. This shaped the central design concept of an urban ‘oasis’ – a secluded retreat in the city centre with plenty of greenery and open space, as well as places to meet friends and socialise. The group reviewed the scheme to ensure that it reflected their design concepts.

We would also like to hear YOUR VIEWS on these ideas and drawings – could you imagine downsizing to the city centre?

To view or download electronic versions of the Sylvester Gardens drawings click on the links below:

Existing Site Project and site introduction>> (3.0mb)
Aerial Bird’s eye view of the Sylvester Gardens scheme>> (2.2mb)
Mary St View of the scheme from Mary Street>>  (0.8mb)
Sylvester St View of the scheme from Sylvester Street>> (0.6mb)
Apartments sheet_1-50 Apartment plans>> (5.1mb)
Townhouse sheet_1-50 Townhouse plans>> (3.8mb)