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Through the DAA project, the City of Warsaw has explored the idea of creating a new activity centre for the elderly in Warsaw. The need for such a place has been expressed by residents, non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders. The goals of the centre are to improve the health and welfare of senior citizens, to promote volunteer work, to bridge generations, to initiate social dialogue, to improve the public perception of ageing, and to prepare middle-aged people for a physically and socially active life in their senior years.

Consequently, the City of Warsaw has commissioned the redesign of an existing social centre for seniors (Ośrodek Nowolipie), with a view to transforming it into a new activity centre. After a call for tenders, Zamek Cieszyn, a design institution from the Silesian region of Poland, was chosen to carry out the assignment. Zamek Cieszyn worked in cooperation with Kompott Design Studio and Insight Shot market research in order to come up with new ideas and solutions. The process took five months and was divided into four stages: research, focus, development, and delivery.

In the first stage, sociological research was conducted among the elderly in Warsaw, visitors of Ośrodek Nowolipie, and other stakeholders and policymakers. The research team used such methods as personal interviews, ethnographic observation, and workshops. The outcome of their work is a new strategy for the senior activity centre. That strategy will include a redesign of the existing space, new ways of organizing activities, new ideas for attracting people, and a revised communication strategy. The designers proposed short-, medium- and long-term objectives. Among various ideas, the following solutions were put forward: a website, a hub for non-governmental organizations, cooperation with students and youths, workshops, sports activities, and many more. All these ideas were collected in a concise design brief – Maturity well-designed.

Special attention was paid to the actual implementation of the plan. It was also important for the designers to keep in mind the needs and customs of current users and visitors of the activity centre. The new strategy aims for change through evolution, not revolution.

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On 24 and 25 April 2014 the final conference of the Design-led Innovations for Active Ageing project took place at the Disseny…