Design for the End of Life
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Level: Undergraduate, Graduate
Division: Parsons The New School for Design
School: School of Design Strategies
Department: Design Strategies
Course Number: PSDS 5303
Course Format: Studio
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
Death and old age are major parts of life. Increases in life expectancy, due to contemporary health care and technology, will create the unprecedented global reality in twenty years of seniors outnumbering young people. Before now, designers have contributed little to improve the experience surrounding late stages of our lives. In this project-based course we will use the methods of design to reframe death as a natural parts of life and examine the complex and potentially rewarding processes and circumstances preceding that event. In particular, this class will focus on LGBTQI population in America for whom the challenges of these phases of life are in high relief due to histories of disconnection from various resources, social relationships and institutional recognition. Students will investigate current practices, standards and regulations that regulate industries associated with aging and end-of-life care in North American urban environments. Particular attention will be paid to the most underserved LGBTQI communities. Working with experts in the field of gerontology and palliative care as lecturers and respondents to students’ work, this course will build upon insights and ideas distilled from interviews and visits with seniors and their families, as well as the staff and professionals who serve them. Students will develop design-based responses that manifest results from fieldwork and culminate in an actionable proposals. A small focus group of seniors will also take part in this seminar on a regular basis to provide ongoing response to students’ ideas, questions and concerns.
Course Open to: Degree Students
Course Pre/Co-requisites:
Open to: All university graduate degree students; undergraduate seniors by permission of instructor.


Open to Graduate students.