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Benefiting everyone: good design features for healthy ageing


With the number of Australians aged 65 and over projected to more than double by 2057, the way we design and support community spaces and services that promote inclusion and accessibility has never been more important.

Thanks to a Melbourne Design Week 2022 narrative portrait exhibition by Monash University’s Rehabilitation, Ageing and Independent Living (RAIL) Research Centre and the National Centre for Healthy Ageing (NCHA), ways to design for ‘civic good’ are being championed to empower people to ‘design the world they want’. 

Curated by Monash University School of Nursing and Midwifery Associate Professor Gabrielle Brand, with photography portraits by Fred Kroh, the exhibition looks to objects, buildings, designs and services that make people feel part of a community across the lifespan, provoking conversations and engagement of a broad audience about ways we can together collaborate to create a better and healthier future for all’.

The exhibition starts with a free Keynote Event on 17 March 2022 at Monash University’s Peninsula Campus, with contributions from the Centre for Universal Design Australia, St Kilda Football Club and local government, demonstrating innovative collaborations to ‘design for civic good’. 

The week-long portrait exhibition will then showcase a range of good design principles that can be applied across physical (public spaces and buildings), service (healthcare, disability support, aged care), and social infrastructure (friends, family) to aid both mental and physical health and wellbeing for everyone.  Examples include a physiotherapist with research, practice and personal experience of service design across the ages; an ‘active living’ exercise group from within Frankston and a senior’s exercise park embedded within our community playgrounds, offering intergenerational activity and play.

RAIL Director, Professor Keith Hill said the narrative portrait exhibition will also bring together the general public with leading experts related to design and healthy ageing. 

“By bringing together the perspectives of a range of experts, we can consider and celebrate the diverse ways design can work towards this better future for our ageing communities,” he said.

NCHA Director Srikanth said the exhibition aligns community conversations and showcases diverse communities, design and creativity for civic good.

“The exhibition values the unique and collective cultures of diverse communities and supports their existence in physical spaces, public policies and investment, and in civic life,” he said. 

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