De empathic home in social housing

Towards an affordable empathic living concept for independently living seniors

Project info

Theme: Social Living
Duration: February 2017 - January 2019
Contact: Masi Mohammadi
Lead partner: Chair Smart Architectural Technologies, TU/e

The Living Lab

Housing corporation Nester (formerly Domus) is seeking ways to best support seniors who live independently at home. After all, government policy is aimed at this, but it is also the wish of seniors themselves. Whether someone is able to continue living independently depends on personal characteristics, stimulating factors and the need for care. The environment in which someone lives can affect those stimulating factors and the need for care and thus also influences the period of time that someone can continue living independently. Nester wondered whether (parts of) the Empathic Home, the Living Lab that investigates how a home can serve as a caregiver with the help of technology, could be applied in its social housing.

The objective

We investigate which design principles are necessary for future-oriented houses that stimulate independent living for seniors with a low socio-economic background. With this, we want to develop an empathetic housing concept that is affordable for a vulnerable target group.

The method

We used literature research, interviews and best practice analysis to compile the design principles. The design principles were tested against a case study: an existing senior complex in Roermond. Initially, we investigated whether this complex could be renovated to meet the current needs of the target group. When it became clear that this was not feasible, the design principles were translated into the design of a new building complex.

The outcome

We have developed useful and sustainable design principles for future-oriented social housing that stimulate a socially active and independent life for seniors. An existing residential building with attached housing was used as a research area. Here we investigated how we could improve the environment. Eén van onze aanbevelingen was om op de gang persoonlijke spullen te kunnen plaatsen zodat voor senioren de overgang van de publieke ruimte in het gebouw naar de privéruimte versoepelt. De uiteindelijke resultaten hebben geleid tot concrete veranderingen die deels uitgevoerd worden op deze locatie.

To give developers and housing corporations better insight into the needs and wishes of the senior target group, a set of cards has been developed. These cards contain questions that make the developer aware of the living situation and how it suits the target group. The set of cards should be used as a starting point for thinking, not as a checklist or strict set of conditions. After all, the target group and technological developments are constantly changing.


Discover the research team that worked on this project

Masi Mohammadi

Scientific Director (HAN & TU/e)

Marije Sanders-Kortekaas

No longer employed at TU/e


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