Sheng-Hung Lee Presents on Design for Longevity at Venice Innovation Design Conference

by Adam Felts

AgeLab Research Assistant and doctoral student Sheng-Hung Lee traveled to Venice, Italy, to give a presentation titled Design for Longevity: Services, Systems, and Sustainability and host an exhibition on longevity-focused design at the Venice Innovation Design (VID) conference. As Venice copes with existential threats due to climate change, VID focuses on the exploration of sustainability-focused theories and practices in design.

Mr. Lee presented on his ongoing Ph.D. research work that explores designing for longevity mentored and advised by Dr. Joseph F. Coughlin, Founder and Director of MIT AgeLab. In the spirit of the conference, he framed designing for longevity as a set of principles geared toward sustainability. Development and investment historically have focused on financial gains at the expense of considerations of broader and longer-term impacts—a problem that initiatives like environmental, social, and governance investing (ESG) seek to address. Similarly, planning for retirement often focuses on considerations of financial preparedness at the expense of a holistic view of wellbeing in old age and across the lifespan.

Longevity-focused design asks designers and users both to grapple with questions such as: How do you envision your future self? Do you feel confident about your ability to adapt and, ultimately, thrive as you age? What people, products, and platforms will shape your future wellbeing? What can you imagine about your life on the eve of your 80th birthday?

Mr. Lee’s exhibition, titled Design for Longevity: Sustainable Life-Centered Services, selected and interpreted 13 key lifestyle areas that sustainable action can focus on: aging, mobility, community, home, family, health, education, trust, care, risk, investment, future, communication, and technology. Mr. Lee collaborated with Sofie Hodara, a typography artist and designer, to translate the research and content into provocative visuals and graphics that enable people to reflect through the lens of longevity, services, and life-centered design.

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About the Author

Photo of Adam Felts
Adam Felts

Adam Felts is a researcher and writer at the MIT AgeLab. Currently he is involved in research on the experiences of family caregivers and the future of financial advice. He also manages the AgeLab blog and newsletter. He received his Master's in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Boston University in 2014 and his Master's of Theological Studies from Boston University in 2019.

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