sUser - Introducing user-driven design and agile development skills in the case of sustainable service housing for elderly

Climate change is a huge challenge faced by humanity that requires urgent action and cooperation at different levels, from local to international. The construction sector is the second largest single contributor to carbon dioxide emissions after the energy production sector [(EU, 2021)], and in addition, residential sector produces app. 10 percent of the EU CO2 emissions (Statista, 2021). There is a strong need to develop CO2 neutral buildings and living to be able to meet the expected climate goals.

Another European issue is aging and the related specific needs for housing and services. The growth in the number of elderly and the dismantling of institutional care have given birth to the market for private service housing with significant amount of new housing investment. To provide build environment supply that meets demand of the residents in the future, it is critical to introduce user-centered design and system thinking both in theoretical and practical levels.

In the design phase significant number of decisions are made that are of great importance for the ecological sustainability as well as the social and economic sustainability. These include the functioning of housing and services, the well-being of residents and the choice of carbon neutral materials and construction solutions.
For the future professionals it is essential that they have knowledge and competence in sustainable design and development these including system thinking, awareness of the environmental and societal effects of the choices they make.
Project period
Project state
Project area
Project funding
Erasmus+ 2021-2027
LAB role
Lead partner
Institute of Design and Fine Arts
Project focus area
Fight against climate chance is crucial to the mankind. Housing and residential sector produces 10 % of the EU CO2 emissions. Also, Europe is ageing, and we need to develop build environment and housing services accordingly. The main goal of the project is to develop education to meet the future requirements in housing and residential sector. In this project the methods and tools are generated to develop the needed system thinking and user-centered design skills that are essential for development of sustainable build environment and particularly service housing for elderly people. The methods and tools that will be developed can be transferred to wider co-creation and user-centered design and enhancing awareness on the importance of sustainability in environmental, economic, and social context.

Environment and the fight against global warming is a horizontal priority for the Erasmus+. Project aims to developing students competences and skills in green sector, including those in the framework of the contribution from education and culture to sustainable development goals, developing green sectorial skills strategies and methodologies. Project also develops future-oriented curricula, as well as initiatives that support the planned approaches of the participating organisations regarding environmental sustainability.

Project takes also into account behavioural changes for individual preferences, cultural values, awareness to support active engagement for sustainable development. This is done by stimulating innovative learning and teaching practices to increase the quality and relevance of the curricula and by pomoting inter-connected higher education systems to build the partners capacity to work transnationally and across sectors including the regional ecosystems with business.

During the project the experiences of learning environments, content, and methods of teaching, as well as collaboration with business in the housing and well-being services for elderly are shared, analyzed, reflected, and developed to improve the regional impact. Partners have their own learning environments that are run in practice-based methods.

In LAB Design, the reference project is the ERDF funded project mentioned above where people-oriented and low-carbon service entity, pioneering construction and operation solutions are designed and piloted. Structures, space solutions and materials are as durable, ecological, and sustainable as possible. Facilities, services and communications harness smart, secure, and digital technologies.
The partners share their experiences of practices and develop future offering in remote meetings and seminars, face-to-face workshops in each country, via student and teacher exchange, and communicate actively in digital platforms and networks.

As a result of the project, plenty of know-how, competence, and knowledge on ecological and low-carbon housing solutions as well as digital service solutions in service housing at the European level will be created. Also, the teaching methods and content will be improved accordingly. The project will build a European network of regional ecosystems and developers who, through co - development methods, produce new innovations in service housing and business opportunities. The measures will be used to develop in both the university environment and the real estate a physical and virtual demo and development environment for service housing, which will serve a sustainable pilot, testing and reference site for low-carbon and people-oriented service housing. The environments are regionally available to students, teachers, and companies during and after the project.
Sustainable Development Goals
Project managers