Great Northern Haven, Dundalk

A unique collaboration between the HSE, Louth Local Authorities, academia and research & development, this demonstration project for independent living uses sensor technologies in a community and research context. This is a flagship project for Co. Louth as Ireland's first 'Age-Friendly' County and for the Dundalk 2020 initiative. It will inform national policy in relation to services for older people, and has commercial applications in the assisted living and healthcare sector.

Designed by MCO, the Great Northern Haven 16 intelligent homes and community centre for independent living represents a unique collaboration between partners in academia (Dundalk Institute of Technology), the Health Service Executive, Louth Local Authorities and social entrepreneurship (Centre for Affective Solutions for Ambient Living Awareness (CASALA) research group, DkIT).

The development can enhance the quality of life of older people through the provision of an integrated, community-oriented housing model that incorporates innovations in sustainable housing design, smart living technologies and person-centred community and health supports. The homes are 'lifetime adaptable', designed to meet the changing needs of residents over time. They enable remote telehealth monitoring of illness if required so that residents can be supported to live independently with peace of mind.

Energy Efficiency is a major concern for older people and so the homes are designed to provide energy security in terms of supply and cost. They have high levels of insulation, a central wood pellet boiler, mechanical ventilation with heat recovery and a green roof for water attenuation.

We are currently involved in post-occupancy research to evaluate the performance of this project from a resident's perspective. Experiences are also informing ongoing Ageing-in-Place research by the Netwell Centre in DkIT. The research outputs from the Barrack Street Housing project will help influence the quality of new housing provision at a national level, the adaptation of existing homes for aging-in-place,and more effective, integrated delivery of services to older people in their homes. The model can also be applied to other groups such as those with physical or intellectual disabilities. The first of its kind in Ireland, the Great Northern Haven project will increase our ability to support those with higher dependency needs within the community.

Recently the first ever International Conference on Age-Friendly Cities featured a site visit to Great Northern Haven - an international exemplar in design for ageing-in-place. The event was organised by the World Health Organisation, the International Federation on Ageing and Ireland's Age Friendly County Programme.

Images 1-3, 5, 8: Courtesy of Barry Keogh.

4D Applications

  • Concept
  • Mapping
  • Facilitation
  • Design Development
  • Procurement
  • Transition
  • Evaluation