Making Home: Housing with Care: A Design Guide for Older Women’s Housing


Women over the age of 55 are the fastest growing cohort of homeless in Australia and current research estimates that more than 400,000 women over the age of 45 are at risk of homelessness. In this context, how can we best design homes for older women at risk of homelessness?

The Design Guide for Older Women’s Housing is founded in a deep understanding of the dignity and opportunity a safe and secure place to call home offers older women at risk of homelessness. The Guide addresses the pragmatics of everyday living for older women. Through the evaluation of four different housing types, the research looked at how interior and exterior spaces were valued and how these housing types could be further improved. The Guide identifies the physical and practical qualities required to deliver functional, safe and secure housing. And, most importantly, the Guide places emphasis on older women’s emotional wellbeing by addressing the design considerations that allow women to make their houses, homes.

Facilitated by Tania Davidge, this is one of a series of ‘Making Home’ events for Open House Melbourne, shining a light on social and affordable housing.

What's On

Join architects Samantha Donnelly and Sophie Dyring as they present their recent research – the Design Guide for Older Women’s Housing – delivered for Monash University’s XYXLab and supported by the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation. This presentation will be followed by a discussion.


  • Sophie Dyring, Schored
  • Sam Donnelly, XYX Lab
  • Helen, lived experience research participant
  • Natasha Liddell, WPI

Images: (1) Cover of the Design Guide for Older Women's Housing. (2) Model of a bedroom from the Design Guide for Older Women's Housing. Images supplied.

Important Details

Time & Date

Saturday 30 July
Panel Discussion 11am-12.30pm
The Japanese Room, MSD

Age Requirements

All Ages


Fully wheelchair accessible
Accessible bathroom
Accessible parking nearby


Japanese Room, Level 4 Melbourne School of Design, University of Melbourne, Masson Rd, Parkville 3010

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