Town Centre Living – A Caring Place Advisory Group Workshop Notes – Part 1

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Town Centre Living: We are developing and inviting a conversation on a Caring Place through our social media channels and on this website. What does a caring place look like? How can we use design to help create a caring place? What value does design bring?

 As part of this conversation an Advisory Group workshop was held in March 2018 to help explore issues relating to care and place in town centres. The session brought together different disciplines exploring policy, practice and place communities, offering opportunities for sharing and capturing knowledge and potential for developing pilots.

This three-part summary note aims to capture the key messages coming out of the session, as well as some potential actions that were discussed. This first part explores what makes a Caring Place; the second part will set out some issues and opportunities; the third part will talk about potential actions.


What do we mean by a caring place, and what are the potential benefits of this idea?

“care for the people, and care for the place, simultaneously”

Older life is not a straight trajectory of dwindling health. However, there can be sudden cliff edges, with no choices. Change that. Support everybody to be as independent as possible. Enable recovery. It’s a spectrum of care.

A Caring Place is about intergenerational relationships and peer support with a series of networks to call on. It’s an attractive place where people visit, supporting the needs of the community to be less dependent in times of vulnerability. It provides person centred care. And supports carers. Each person’s needs are dealt with, with dignity.

“People are noticing if someone doesn’t come out of the house”

This is a diverse place, with choices. There is compassion and tolerance in the community, and a density of social life supported by accessibility, equality, cultural belonging, legibility, memory, security. More choices mean much fewer GP visits. It is about ‘enabling’  journeys, not an end point. This goes beyond just having a nice physical environment.

“I can get to things and support can get to me”

Demand for care is rising. It’s not that we are living in less caring communities. Stop dishonest discourse. Accept demographics around ageing population instead of blaming. And, improve respect for carers. This is about more than money.

 “from what hospitals need to what communities need”

So, start with social infrastructure. Build on existing social capacity and networks. Pull these together. Look for opportunities around overlapping functions, platforms for interaction where social infrastructure meets the physical.  Education, Community Empowerment and disposal of public assets are opportunities.

“Can we stretch beyond the limits of the different professional roles we think we have and the authority that we actually have?”

Town Centre Living: A Caring Place

Town Centre Living: How we can use design to help create a caring place? What value does design bring? Join the conversation!

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