Creating an intergenerational university hub: Engaging older and younger users in the shaping of space and place
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Intergenerational initiatives in post-secondary settings have demonstrated health and social benefits. However, there is a lack of detail with regard to the process by which such initiatives are conceptualized and the role of older and younger users in their development. Guided by the principles of an Age-Friendly University (AFU) alongside elements from a 'Design Thinking' approach, this project outlines the process undertaken to design a new intergenerational space to promote intergenerational connectivity. An online student survey (n = 504; 72.2% female) and focus groups were conducted with older adults (n = 22; 12 females; aged 70-95), which found similar themes across age groups with respect to: 1) past intergenerational experiences; 2) perceived benefits/challenges of accessing the space, and; 3) activity suggestions. Using these findings, alongside direct stakeholder input, Occupational Therapy students developed programming and design suggestions for the space in question aimed at strengthening interactions across age and ability. Results from this process indicate consulting with older and younger users can circumvent potential challenges and inform the design of campus-based initiatives that can promote intergenerational exchange.
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