About the DWELL Project

The DWELL (Designing for Wellbeing in Environments for Later Life) project was a multi-disciplinary design research project at the University of Sheffield.

The DWELL project was carried out over three years (2013-16), and was led by Professor Sarah Wigglesworth. It involved researchers from the fields of architecture, urban planning, and public health working in collaboration with local residents, housing providers, developers and Sheffield City Council. Details of the DWELL project research team can be found on our people page.

Involving Sheffield residents

Local residents from neighbourhoods across Sheffield played an active role in the research process. Around 150 older residents were directly involved as participants in the project, with many more providing feedback via our public engagement events.

During the first year, DWELL used interviews and focus group discussions to explore the issues facing older residents and communities in Sheffield. We then invited residents to join one of our co-design groups, which each tackled a different aspect of Age-friendly housing and neighbourhoods.

Our neighbourhood-based groups in Dore, Sharrow and Parson Cross/Foxhill explored issues of how their local environment could be improved for older residents and others. Meanwhile, our citywide group focused on the existing shortage of options for ‘downsizers’, and worked with us to develop a range of new housing typologies.

Further details of the DWELL research and co-design process can be found on our findings page.

Policy and practice

The project team collaborated closely with Sheffield City Council to examine current policy and practice relating to the planning, commissioning and management of housing for an ageing population.

Over the course of the project, DWELL designers and researchers have contributed to the development and evaluation of ongoing projects with the Council and their partners, including the design of specialist housing and accessible public realm.

Working alongside Council officers, DWELL researchers provided part of the evidence base to support the development of Local Plan policy options related to older person’s housing. DWELL were also involved in providing evidence for the draft Older Person’s Independent Living Strategy in 2016.

Funding and outputs

The DWELL project is part of the ‘Design for Wellbeing’ programme under the cross-council Lifelong Health and Wellbeing (LLHW) initiative, supported research addressing factors throughout life that influenced health and well-being in older age.

This research programme was funded by three research councils:

All of the outputs from the DWELL research project published to date are in the public domain and can be found on our findings page.