HDL Studios Opening up Ageing

As Helsinki continues to warm up for the summer, we welcome a new group of guests who comprise our third HDL Studio, this time on ageing society. While the first two studios had relatively focused questions, this one is more open-ended. Around the world there's a lot of attention towards the coming "silver wave" of retiring Baby Boomers whose quantity, diversity of needs, and consumer orientation will put new demands on welfare systems. The challenge we face now, and the focus of this studio, is to develop an understanding of the relationships within this knotty issue—How do the pieces fit together?

Is ageing a health issue or a social issue? Is it a question of environments, isolation, mobility, independence? Is ageing just about the elderly? The nature of the challenge exists somewhere at the intersection of these many issues.

Maslow's <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow's_hierarchy_of_needs">hierarchy of needs</a> expanded to a torus of actors.
Maslow's hierarchy of needs expanded to a torus of actors.

Christina and Ankki, two Aalto University students who have been doing preparatory research in advance of the Ageing Studio's arrival, struck on an interesting way to map this web of needs and the groups responding to them. They started with Maslow's Hierarchy of needs in one dimension and the different scales of activity and support—from private, to city, to national—in another dimension. The key actors related to ageing are then slotted into this matrix. The result looks something like this draft:

The network of actors related to ageing in the city of Helsinki. In progress.
The network of actors related to ageing in the city of Helsinki. In progress.

The visualization itself makes the gaps very apparent and the act of drawing becomes a process of discovery. More as this work develops.

And now, a hearty welcome to our HDL Studio on Ageing:

If you want a peek into the life of the studio, follow #HDL2010 on Twitter where Inderpaul Johar is actively posting. Tomorrow we're heading to Jyväskylä for a full day of site visits as the studio continues to immerse themselves in the challenge.