Socio-spatial relationships in design of residential care homes for people living with dementia diagnoses: a grounded theory approach
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This paper presents a grounded theory study conceptualising the socio-spatial relationships and lived experiences of residents with a dementia diagnosis in two residential care homes in the United Kingdom. The study challenges generalisations and abstractions of occupants in the design and construction of the built environment, such as through design guides, and prioritises the lived experiences and aspirations of care home residents as rich sources of design knowledge, enabling the articulation of new conceptual and spatial relationships between residents and their physical environment. Mixed qualitative methods were used to build knowledge and construct theory directly from participants in fieldwork, and the constant comparison method was used to systematically derive a grounded theory of the research context. A theory model is constructed that encompasses embodied spatial characteristics, famed as 'liminalities', ‘affordances’ and ‘enablement’, and discrepancies in the representation and realisation of residential care homes, in 'ideologies of spatial conception', and in 'veridictions'. Moreover, the paper illustrates ethical and methodological approaches to architectural research fieldwork in environments with vulnerable people and suggests further research to address co-design methodologies, and ethics in architectural research.
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