Spring 2019 - GERO 811 G100

Institutional Living Environments (4)

Class Number: 6991

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    HCC 3122, Vancouver



This course focuses on design issues, theory, research and policy relevant to planning, developing and managing institutional living environments for dependent adults.


What is the nature of lived experience in a residential care setting? Organizational policies, program philosophies, staff training, staff culture, care practices and physical environment -- all contribute in shaping the everyday life of a “resident” in a care facility. This course will explore theory, research and practice in institutional living environments with special focus on the role of the physical/built environment in the residents’ quality of life and the quality of care practices. The course will focus on environmental design from a multi-faceted perspective taking into account the residents’ socio-psychological situation, staffing issues and organizational context. Each student will select a topic of his or her interest in this substantive area, present a seminar on that topic and write a research-based term paper. Students are expected to actively participate in the discussions and critique the readings.


* Understand the key theoretical approaches, substantive research areas and applied issues in long-term settings

* Identify the major environmental design principles relevant for creation of a supportive physical environment in care facilities

* Develop a research paper based on existing peer-reviewed academic literature on a chosen topick


  • Attendance, Preparation of Course Materials and Critical Contribution 10%
  • Seminar based on Integration of Literature on a Selected Topic 15%
  • Research Paper 40%
  • Take Home Exam 35%



Custom course package consisting of research articles, book chapters, reports, etc. from various sources. This is available at the SFU Bookstore at Harbour Centre.

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html