Minister English launches Homes for
Smart Ageing Universal Design Challenge

Today Mr Damien English T.D., Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal, launches the 2017 Homes for Smart Ageing Universal Design Challenge.

An initiative under the Rebuilding Ireland programme (Action 2.19), the challenge aims to stimulate and encourage the design and construction industries to be innovative in designing and delivering housing solutions for older people.

Speaking at today’s launch, Minister English commented on the ageing of Ireland’s population as representing one of the most significant demographic and societal developments in the years ahead. He added that, “with the number of people over the age of 65 expected to reach 1.4 million by 2041, the implications for public policy in areas such as housing, health and urban and rural planning are considerable. This challenge is aimed at harnessing novel and innovative ideas that will improve the quality of life for older persons, in the context of Rebuilding Ireland and the Programme of Actions for Smart Ageing.”

“To borrow a phrase, we want to inspire people to think differently’ commented Ger Craddock, Chief Officer of the Centre for Excellence in Universal Design. ‘An expanding, ageing population, is a growing global challenge, but one that can be tackled through new and innovative thinking. We expect the talent in Ireland to demonstrate how simple ideas can change people’s lives and benefit society as a whole.”

While primarily of interest to designers, the competition is open to all. €100,000 worth of prizes is on offer, with five €10,000 awards for commended entries after Round 1 and the grand prize of €50,000 for the ultimate winner. The winning idea would be expected to make a significant impact on Irish society, using universal design principles to create products, services, solutions, and systems to improve the quality of life for older persons in Ireland and ultimately all of us.

The winning entry should also be cost-effective, with the potential for mainstreaming, in support of smart-ageing solutions, in the areas of:

    • Smart technologies in housing for older people, and/or;
    • Adaptation of existing houses to meet the need of older people, and/or;
    • Life-time communities.

“The winning idea would be expected to make a significant impact on Irish society, using universal design principles to improve the quality of life for older persons in Ireland”

The competition was launched in the Custom House today, 31 January, and will be open for entries until the 13 March, 2017. All entries are submitted online through the website, www.homesforsmartageing-ud.com.