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Inclusive Design for Getting Outdoors
The I'DGO research consortium is pleased to announce the launch of three new publications at a flagship Anglo-Canadian knowledge transfer event on age-supportive built environments

The publications were unveiled on Thursday 11th March in Edinburgh before an interdisciplinary delegation of scientists and policy leaders brought together by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research - Institute of Aging and KT-EQUAL, a programme of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

The high-profile event was supported by The British High Commission (Toronto) and The Canadian High Commission (London) and involved a lunch at the Scottish Parliament, hosted by the Cross-Party Group on Older People, Age and Ageing.

The programme also took in presentations at Edinburgh College of Art and a Healthy Neighbourhoods Workshop in the city’s historic ‘old town’ (organised by I'DGO partners Living Streets and Sustrans).

I'DGO (Inclusive Design for Getting Outdoors) places a critical focus on the way in which design policies and practice influence ‘everyday’ environments for people of all abilities. It asks if the needs of older people and disabled people are supported by the current regeneration and sustainability agendas and the latest ‘best practice’ in the design of outdoor spaces. The project’s publications examine these issues at a range of scales, focusing on three areas in which evidence is currently lacking. These are: the implications of high-density urban housing for residential outdoor space (do gardens matter?); pedestrian-friendly neighbourhoods (or the impact of ‘shared space’ streets on older residents); and the relationship between the design, siting and laying of tactile paving, the biomechanics of walking and risk of falling.

During what has been an exceptionally busy month for I'DGO, the publications have been distributed at a number of gerontological events, including the Built Environment for All Ages one-day workshop hosted in Edinburgh by the team on behalf of KT-EQUAL (Friday 19th March). For this event in particular, they complemented presentations by Professor Catharine Ward Thompson (OPENspace Research Centre, Edinburgh), Rita Newton (SURFACE Inclusive Design Research Centre, Salford) and Dr Lynne Mitchell (WISE; the Wellbeing in Sustainable Environments research unit, Warwick), all of which focused on the importance to older people of getting outdoors, the barriers they face and the environmental features which make a difference to accessibility.

The publications are available to download in pdf format from the I'DGO website (http://www.idgo.ac.uk/useful_resources/publications.htm) and – in hard copy – from the project’s Communicator, Máire Cox (m.cox@eca.ac.uk).

About I'DGO (Inclusive Design for Getting Outdoors)

I’DGO is built around a core group of international academics in three leading research centres:

  • the Edinburgh-based OPENspace;

  • SURFACE Inclusive Design Research Centre at Salford; and the

  • WISE (Wellbeing in Sustainable Environments) research unit at the University of Warwick.

We are funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and play an active role in its flagship knowledge transfer consortium, KT-EQUAL (www.equal.ac.uk). Our focus is on identifying the most effective ways of shaping outdoor environments inclusively. We support the needs and preferences of older people and disabled people, always seeking to improve their independence and overall quality of life. Our multi-disciplinary consortium is a virtual centre of excellence, involving a wide range of partners engaged in older people's issues. We use innovative research tools and ‘joined-up’ quantitative/qualitative methods. We are committed to maximising the accessibility of our research; our findings have already had a significant impact on the decision makers and designers who influence our built and natural environments.

For further information, please visit www.idgo.ac.uk or follow us on www.twitter.com/idgoresearch

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