This page provides details about a modular pathway studio from the Architecture - MArch programme.

Call-out: This studio is interdisciplinary, with post-graduate students of Architecture and Landscape from ESALA and students of Dementia Studies from the University of Stirling working together on the design of age- and dementia-friendly neighbourhoods in the City of Copenhagen.

  • Modular Pathway 2016-17
  • Studio Leader: Iain Scott

Mobility, Mood and Place Research Project

The Mobility, Mood and Place (MMP) Studio is part of a 3 year long research project (2013-2016), funded by the EPSRC through the Lifelong Health and Wellbeing cross-council programme, and bringing together academics from the Universities of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt, York and King’s College London. The research is partnered by a network of stakeholder bodies and involves the co-design of age friendly communities with a range of older participants. The project also employs and develops innovative mobile neural imaging methods to map and explore real-time emotional responses to place. It is also exploring the impact of place-based forces on human health over the life-course, employing innovative methods of analyzing existing archive data from a variety of sources. Mobility, Mood and Place studios which form part of the funded research project have investigated themes related to age-friendly cities in both London and Manchester from 2013-15 and designing a dementia-friendly community in the Orkney Isles in 2016. The MMP Conference will take place from 11th-14th of October in Edinburgh with a detailed programme of lectures, seminars, workshops and exhibitions which all MMP students will be invited to attend. MMP staff and students will run a full day co-design workshop as part of the conference on the design of dementia-friendly neighbourhoods in the old town of Edinburgh, involving conference delegates, older people and students and staff from DSDC. This work will help with the generation of ideas and potential interventions on the Copenhagen core project.

Location: Copenhagen

Copenhagen is the culturaleconomic and governmental centre of Denmark, one of the major financial hubs of Northern Europe and is recognized as one of the most environmentally-friendly cities in the world. Copenhagen has been praised for its green economy, and its people-focussed urbanism, with a stronger focus on the cyclist and the pedestrian rather than the motorist. It has neighbourhood- and community-focussed social policy, well-designed green space and innovative forms of social housing which all help improve the quality of life of its citizens. MMP students will engage in a year-long design project to design a dementia-friendly neighbourhood which has clear age-friendly intentions and incorporates, public and green space, aspects of public programme and housing.

Design for Dementia

Dementia is described as that group of symptoms affecting thinking, mental and social ability to the extent that it will interfere with an individual’s daily functioning. Although generally associated with adults above the age of 65, there is a growing awareness of young onset dementia occurring in younger people.

The Alzheimer’s Society reports that there are over 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK today. Of these, approximately 40,000 are people with young onset dementia, which affects people under the age of 65. Studies into dementia and environment tend to focus principally on the domestic home or care home environment with less thought given to dementia-friendly urbanism, landscape, neighbourhoods and outdoor spaces. Stirling University’s Dementia Centre is an international centre of knowledge and research in all aspects of dementia, including its relationship to the built environment, particularly the home. Staff and students from the Dementia Centre will be engaged in a year-long discussion and critique with ESALA MArch and MLA students in the production of age- and dementia-friendly propositions which operate at the five architectural scales of city, neighbourhood, building, space and body.


Following a group research project to uncover knowledge related to age- and dementia-friendly cities, we will conduct a field trip to understand how those issues become contextualized and transformed in Copenhagen. Students will employ E+B research methods in the field and will produce a series of diagnostic research drawings which interpret age friendly issues and place specific forces. Working in groups or individually, students will then produce a manifesto for an architectural project and a tectonic installation which represents physical structures and ontological forces in their chosen neighbourhood for intervention. Programmes will be generated from each student’s research but must include intergenerational housing and housing for older people. Urban propositions which link individual projects will be worked on in semester 1.

In semester 2, students will progress these proposals through the five scales, towards a completed design, including an understanding of technology and materiality. Students will also be asked to do drawings which evoke affordances which are contained within the scheme and are particular to the condition of living with dementia.

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