Beijing Global Design Innovation Lab: Future Aging

The Beijing Global Design Innovation Lab: FutureAging is an ongoing collaborative interdisciplinary and cross-cultural laboratory which explores issues associated with the growing aging population. FutureAging is a collaboration between the University of Technology, Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building, Sydney and Tsinghua University, Industrial Design Department and Healthcare Design Innovation Lab in the Academy of Art and Design, Beijing.

Established in 2016 by Vivien, the lab aims to develop the design, research and inter and cross cultural collaboration skills of students working on complex problems in global environments. The lab explores design tools, visual methods, mapping and processes to work across disciplines and cultures with communities. Situated in the Asia Pacific region, Australia is a close neighbour to Asia with strong economic links. The lab creates connections between students, academics, government and industry between Australia and China.

Both China and Australia face demographic changes in the coming years where the proportion of elderly will grow rapidly however both will face different cultural, social, economic and political conditions. The Asia-Pacific region is expected to more than quadruple to over 2.45 billion by 2050 with almost two thirds of the world’s older population living in Asia-Pacific.

Students formed interdisciplinary teams with local students and use a human-centred approach to research, co-design, understand the issues, derive insights to develop solutions and interventions. Students are challenged to develop skills in cross-cultural collaboration, to develop sensitivity and adaptability in global contexts and to use design processes, research and inquiry to process solutions in complex environments.

Students gain an understanding of the creative, design and entrepreneurship landscape in Beijing through site visits to local incubators and accelerators, technology parks, museums and maker spaces.