Theodore Hoerr, Founding Principal of Terrain Work, recently presented design research for age friendly landscapes at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society Of America (GSA) in Boston. Theodore was part of an interdisciplinary symposia consisting of a diverse panel of speakers, including psychologists, gerontologists, an architect, and a landscape architect, to address the importance of purpose in later life and the design of purposeful living spaces for older adults.
Theodore's talk explored how understanding the etymology of landscape can offer insight into designing spaces to create delight and foster purpose in life through the cultivation of the landscape. It also traced a history of a few key scientific studies that demonstrate the power of landscape to engender mental and physical health while providing promising links to improving self-esteem and fostering a sense of accomplishment in older adults.
This is an exciting point in time where designers have the knowledge and resources to create built environments that go beyond a series of checklists to address safety and accessibility. As evidence based design becomes more commonly relied upon as a tool for designers, it poses questions of how we can creatively design age friendly spaces that capture the imagination of all age groups while providing support for older adults.
A special thanks to symposia chair Professor Wingyun Mak PhD, and fellow panelists Ted Porter of Ted Porter Architecture, Karon Phillips, Ph.D., MPH, CHES, CAPS, Jean Accius, PhD, PMP, and Claire Daugeard . For more information on Terrain Work’s Ageless Design Research click here.