There and Back Again

Series 3/3: Space Time Continuum – This series reflects on the then and the now, the old and the new, on how we connect with an ever evolving urban landscape.

The following entry is dedicated to people suffering from Dementia and those that care for them.

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In the previous series we have reflected on the importance of stories that connect people to places and the role of new technologies in social innovation. What is the balance required between new and old to create smarter cities that work for the community. With an increase in PFI (Private Funding Initiative) buildings are being designed with a life span of 30 to 40 years. This enables the design to meet the rapid changes in building functionality and as form follows function a change in function leads to a change in form. What are the affects of this ever changing landscape on the community?

People require stories to connect with their built environment; stories can be found in history. When history is removed from a place the sense of connection is lost. It is a well known fact that individuals suffering from Dementia need continuity as their long term memory is less effected than short term. This has led to some interesting use of technology and design to improve the quality of life of Dementia patients (e.g. Dementia Phones and RemPods). What role can the built environment play in improving the quality of life of Dementia patients?

There is a few different ways the industry has responded to this question. The old is not necessarily destroyed as its form outlives its function instead the building is provided with a new function. In new builds the planning permission stage may require investment into the renovation of local buildings. New builds can also pick up on local themes and tell the story of the area; this is what the Vimto Gardens development in Salford, Chapel Street, is achieving. This preserves the identity of the local community and enables people to connect with their built environment. It also enables people to discover their community in a new light. This type of design can improve the lives of Dementia patient as well as enable us all to better connect with our built environment.

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