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Health & Community for Seniors at Neighborhood Scale

Research and design of built physical space, programming plan and activity tracking app for an independent living senior neighborhood

Challenge

Challenge

The First Hill neighborhood in Seattle, also known as “Pill Hill” has five hospitals and seven independent living facilities within a two-mile radius. Although these services are clustered in this urban neighborhood, the residents can often feel isolated, rarely interacting with their surrounding senior community. Our challenge was to design new services, both physical and digital, that help seniors feel more connected to each other and the local community.

Clients & Collaborators
Horizon House Independent Living, Skyline Independent Living, Virginia Mason Hospital, Harborview Hospital, Swedish Hospital, City of Seattle Department of Planning, First Hill Neighborhood Association, Framework

Research & Analysis

Research & Analysis

Initial research involved field visits, interviews, and workshops with stakeholders, community members, and independent living residents. Insights were then synthesized and activated though a series of co-creation workshops with community residents.

Methods
stakeholder interviews | in-context observations | spatial behavior mapping | physical inventory | community workshops | online surveys | guidelines for multi-year evaluation process | prototype evaluation exercises

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Concepts, Prototypes & Testing

Concepts, Prototypes & Testing

The team then developed concepts & prototypes for three focus areas: senior engagement within the physical community, activating ongoing community participation, and senior engagement across independent living communities. These prototypes aided in evaluation of future design development, participant engagement and community building among independent living senior residents. 

How do we provide a participatory place for seniors to engage in the community?

How do we provide a participatory place for seniors to engage in the community?

Activity Pavement Park 
Repurposing an underutilized street, Pavement Park is a two-year hi-fidelity prototype to observe how the public, including nearby independent living residents, use dedicated physical space over time and in different contexts. This work will inform future permanent design development.  

Testing & Evaluation Methods 
Observations | In-Context Interviews | Spatial Behavior Mapping

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How do we create a program that encourages ongoing active participation?

How do we create a program that encourages ongoing active participation?

Street Scrabble Program
A one-day lo-fi prototype to observe and gather data about intergenerational community building and development of future health focused program ideas in conjunction with nearby hospitals, independent living facilities and residential residents. 

Testing & Evaluation Methods
Online survey | Social media analysis | Co-creation workshop to generate program themes

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How do we help seniors connect to their neighborhood and community?

How do we help seniors connect to their neighborhood and community?

Activity & Community Web App for Seniors
A web application for seniors that aids in learning about neighborhood and park events, and encourages dialogue to build local community. 

Testing & Evaluation Methods
Interviews | Usability testing

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Outcomes

Insights learned throughout the two year project resulted in the following positive outcomes for service, program and product development, including: 

+ A successful first year of prototype pavement park, resulting in the allocation of city for a permanent design 

+ Development of a senior activity program managed and funded by the local First Hill neighborhood group in collaboration with surrounding hospitals and independent living homes

+ Interest in future iterations for the activity application, including real time connection to the resident community board and additional community features