The role of university education in linking aging bodies to housing design in the fields of environmental gerontology, architectural studies, and interior design.
Najjemba, Hannah Ssemwanga
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This is a case-study investigation that proposes opportunities for researchers and educators in the fields of environmental gerontology, architectural studies, and interior design to promote design for aging education by linking the study aging bodies to the practice of house design. This study involved four universities and colleges in several Midwestern States of America. Research methods included case study and thematic analysis of study data. Research design involved semi- structured interviews and document analysis. Critical case sampling was used for selecting participants for the interviews. Interview data revealed that Gerontology, Architectural Studies, and Interior Design faculty could further leverage their scholarly and professional backgrounds to increase program focus on design for aging topics. Results from document analysis showed that although, the Gerontology program faculty had more opportunities to teach their students about design for aging, there was still a need for more advanced aging-design courses in Interior Design programs. In light of that assessment, the researcher’s recommendations included creation of more required courses that teach design for aging topics in Gerontology, Architectural Studies, and Interior design programs. This could be done through collaboration of educators from these disciplines. Limitations for this study included the study’s small sample size and the lack of interview data from two of the case study universities. Future research opportunities in this arena include larger qualitative, qualitative, and mixed method studies relating to university-level aging-design education.