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Senior Living


Research overview

The 'Infill Development for Older Australians in South East Queensland' report is based on a research project conducted in partnership with people 55 years and older in southeast Queensland to design liveable, affordable and sustainable neighbourhoods and accommodation in areas appropriate for urban consolidation.

The contribution of this innovative research project has been recognised by the Queensland Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) in 2012, winning an Award for Excellence in the Cutting Edge Research and Teaching Category. In 2013, the research was recognised by the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2), winning the Australasian Research Award for participatory research at the IAP2 Core Values Award ceremony held in Adelaide in September 2013. The resulting principles and accommodation typologies not only confirm seniors’ innate understanding of some commonly accepted urban design principles, but they paint a vivid picture of what older people in a sub-tropical environment find appealing and supportive as they age.Research Award Logo

The research shares a new-found understanding of older people’s needs and preferences for shaping the built environment in the sub-tropics.

Importantly, it illustrates the preferences of older people through their own photos and words, and provides examples of innovation achieved through a collaborative design process.

This book is intended to be used by developers, non-profit care providers, planners, builders, and policy-makers as a guide to how to meet the challenge of providing liveable safe spaces for older people in a densifying community. It provides justification for a change from ‘business as usual’, to delivering an accessible product to an increasingly knowledgeable and discerning seniors’ market.

Download the Infill Development Report:

For PDF documents you must have the free Adobe Acrobat Reader, which can be downloaded from the Adobe Download page.


The study used participatory methods with seniors including:

  • PhotoVoice to identify key supportive mechanisms and challenges for seniors in the built environment at both the neighbourhood and accommodation levels
  • Charrettes to engage seniors in the design process

More than 42 people over 55 years and older from Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast participated in this study throughout its several stages for over a year, starting early in 2011.

Research partners

This research was undertaken at the University of the Sunshine Coast by Dr Claudia Baldwin (Chief Investigator) and Caroline Osborne from the Regional and Urban Planning Program, and co-authored with Phil Smith from the design firm Deicke Richards. The research project was supported by a collaboration of four groups:

  • Queensland Government’s Urban Land Development Authority
  • Sunshine Coast Council
  • Churches of Christ Queensland – a not-for-profit aged care services provider
  • Deicke Richards – a Brisbane-based architectural and urban design firm

The project also benefited from the insight and expertise of Professor Laurie Buys and Kim van Megen of the Queensland University of Technology who contributed from the disciplines of gerontology, subtropical design and urban design.

Research contacts

At the University of the Sunshine Coast Dr Claudia Baldwin may be contacted at and Caroline Osborne at Co-Author Phil Smith of Deicke Richards Architects may be contacted at

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