Property sector has its work cut out to deliver for all generations


The property sector is one of the worst performers in a new piece of research which looks at how different generations value design, it was revealed at a U + I Think event last week (January 26, 2017).

The finding comes in a new study from The Age of No Retirement, Flamingo and Tapestry Research, supported by the Big Lottery Fund. The study suggests common assumptions and prejudices about age are largely wrong, and that different generations have more in common than many people think. This has implications for businesses, particularly those who have traditionally sought to market different products and services to different generations in varying ways.

The Age of No Retirement has devised a list of 10 Intergenerational Design Principles to gauge how well sectors fare at producing products that appeal across the generations. Housing and accommodation does badly, particularly lagging behind on being Accessible, Clear & Intuitive, Not time-consuming, Flexible, Effortless and Delightful.

The findings put the sector on a par with Public Transport and Hospitals. 

Speaking at property regeneration specialist U + I’s first Think event of 2017, the co-founder of The Age of No Retirement, George Lee, said: “When we design well and get it right we all become enabled. Are you going to complain about technology which is too intuitive, customer service which is too helpful, packaging which is too easy to grip, financial products which are too comprehensible and homes which meet lifetime needs? We don’t think so.”

The Age of No Retirement asked attendees at the U+I Think event how they would use the Intergenerational Design Principles. Ideas from the floor were diverse; a ban was proposed on elderly care homes – “ghettos for the old” – to improve life expectancy and reduce isolation. And to address the need to slow down, which was a desire felt across all age ranges in the research, it was suggested that public space be redesigned to contain “areas, not routes” to encourage a slower pace of life. 

U + I’s Director of Communications and Business Services, Brenda Bates, added: “U+ I’s approach to regeneration is far more than just delivering buildings. As a developer it is our responsibility to continue curating unique and thoughtful places for all the people who will live, work and play there, for years to come.”



For further press information, please contact:
Olivia Blunt 
0207 397 7377

About the Methodology

A quantitative survey among 2,000 respondents aged 18 to 70+, representative of the UK population covered:
- Attitudes to age and lifestyles across ages
- Evaluation of a set of Intergenerational Design principles, defined by The Age of No
Retirement in collaboration with the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design at the Royal College of Art, and their importance in everyday life and across product categories
- The core themes identified in our quantitative study were then explored in depth in an ethnographic study that bring our findings to life via videos and testimonies.

About The 10 Intergenerational Design Principles

The Intergenerational Design Principles have been developed by The Age of No Retirement and Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design at the Royal College of Art, and researched in collaboration with global insights and analytics specialists Tapestry Research and global insight and strategy consultancy Flamingo. They are:

Safe and Secure
Having your rights of safety, privacy, information security looked after, being respectful of personal rights and not discriminating

Clear and Intuitive
Being easy to understand, or easy to work out how to use

Free of Time Pressure
Optimising your use of time, not being too slow nor too fast.

Finding things to be pleasing, beautiful or enjoyable

Being easy to find, reach or use either online or off; being accessible as and when required without being intrusive

Human Connection
Helping you feel connected to other people, or having two-way conversation

Being given choice, being easy to adapt and not punishing errors too harshly

Right Effort
Either needing the right level of physical effort, mental effort or in easy terms of sight/sound, etc.

Feeling that things contribute to self and social worth, or that they help your development and autonomy

Things being sustainable, either in terms of environmental or economic development, durability, social unity or inclusivity