Lesley Palmer's picture

By Lesley Palmer

August 18th, 2020

DSDC Dementia Design 2020

The University of Stirling’s Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC) was founded in 1989 as an international centre for knowledge exchange with the purpose of improving the lives of people with dementia. Then Director of DSDC, Professor Mary Marshall noted that ‘From its inception in 1989 the numbers of requests for help with design to assist people with dementia have been considerable’. This trend has continued and by 2019 our team were working in 23 countries worldwide.

To celebrate our 30 years as specialists in dementia design we have worked tirelessly through the first half of 2020 on three flagship projects, and it is with great pleasure that we will be able to share our efforts with you on the 21st September 2020 – World Alzheimer’s Day.

The first flagship project to be released is our new online dementia-design training programmes. This includes a free one-hour RIBA approved CPD, a one-week introduction to dementia design and a seven-week comprehensive programme ‘Intersections of Dementia + Design’ which explores many aspects of environmental design including air quality, lighting, interiors and landscaping.

The second project ‘architecture for dementia: Stirling Gold 2008-2020’ is a compendium of international architectural projects each awarded the world renowned DSDC building accreditation ‘Gold’ award for dementia design. This fundamental body of work provides an overview of the creative and evolving realm of designing for dementia from 2008 to 2020. Illustrated case studies include a variety of building scales, typologies and geographies. Each project offers solutions and suggestions on how to design dementia-inclusive environments whilst responding to their own context and the regional variations in care, societal attitudes and economies. You can pre-order a copy here.

And finally, following the exciting release of ‘Designing Environments for People with Dementia: a systematic Literature Review’ by Professor Bowes et al in 2019 [1] (a synthesis of the most current research in this field), Dr Martin Quirke with the support of an External Steering Group and his colleagues at DSDC, is finalising the release of a new version of our Dementia Design Audit Tool. Our new tool will be designed to support the implementation and accreditation of dementia design principles across all building typologies, tailored to the stage of design development/construction and cognisant of regional contexts. This is a mammoth task and Dr Quirke will present an update on the development of the tool on the 21st September 2020. If you are interested in taking part in the later stages of the tool’s development or have any questions please get in touch at dementia@stir.ac.uk

We hope you enjoy DSDC Dementia Design 2020 and look forward to informing you of more exciting projects in the forthcoming months.


[1]   Bowes, A. and Dawson, A. (2019), "Designing Environments for People with Dementia", Designing Environments for People with Dementia, Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 1-92. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-78769-971-720191004



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