Conference in Sacramento – 2007

This peer-reviewed paper was selected for publication in the EDRA38 Conference Proceedings and the full paper can be accessed via this link.


This paper reports on a post-occupancy evaluation (POE) resident survey conducted at three retirement villages
in Australia. The study, in which 85 residents participated, focused on aspects of village environment as a whole
as well as the design of residents’ individual home environments in terms of the technical, functional and behavioral aspects of environmental design. The questionnaire, developed in consultation with the commissioning authority, was based on Preiser et al, (1988) and used rating scale items linked to the goals for senior citizens developed by Jordan (1975, 1978). The results of questionnaire items relating to the interface between environmental design characteristics and older people are discussed in this paper; specifically, personal safety, access, mobility and opportunities for formal and informal social interaction. Findings suggest that certain environmental design characteristics may have negative impacts, sometimes with unfortunate flow-on effects such as reduced independence and decreased social interaction leading to feelings of loneliness and isolation. While this study has limitations, findings from POE studies such as this can been used to inform planning and design for retirement villages. Positive outcomes from this particular study are discussed and simple modifications and changes that can better suit residents’ physical capacities are identified.