The research team

Karen WestProfessor of Social Policy and Ageing, University of Bristol (Principle Investigator) 

Karen is a social gerontologist and has extensive experience of qualitative research on care and housing and, more recently, collaborative housing. She has led on many research projects, including the delivery of information and advice services and low-level support, the implementation of personalisation, bereavement support in extra care housing. She has just finished working on research investigating Community-led Housing and Loneliness for MHCLG. Karen has an ongoing interest in how public policy and social care policy is addressing the challenge of an ageing population and has spoken frequently on these topics. She is a trustee of Age UK Bristol.

Misa Izhuara, Professor of Social Policy, University of Bristol (Co-Investigator) 

Misa is Professor of Social Policy based in the School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol. She has been undertaking research internationally in the areas of housing and social change, ageing and intergenerational relations, and comparative policy analysis. Her projects include collaborative research on ‘Social differentiation in later life: housing and retirement trajectories’‘ and ‘Housing assets and intergenerational dynamics in East Asian societies’ both funded by the ESRC.

Melissa Fernández Arrigoitia, University of Lancaster (Co-Investigator) 

Melissa is a Lecturer in Urban Futures at Lancaster University’s Sociology Department with extensive experience and publications in senior co-housing and in managing medium to large-scale research grants. Her work focuses primarily on housing and critical geographies of the home, especially collaborative housing. This includes a long-term ethnography into the production of alternative home futures and community-led practices, notably senior co-housing, in London; as well as case studies across the UK and Europe.

Kath Scanlon, London School of Economics (Co-Investigator) 

Kath is Distinguished Policy Fellow at the London School of Economics, where she has been based for 20 years.  An economist and planner, she specialises in understanding the impact of housing policy at local and national level. She has been researching cohousing for more a decade and is interested in ways of expanding access to the benefits of collaborative housing, and recently led a research project for MHCLG, looking at the effects of community-led housing on loneliness.  She has conducted policy-focused research for a range of UK and international funders including the GLA, several London boroughs, Homes for Scotland and the Council of Europe Development Bank.  Her role as Distinguished Policy Fellow involves regular engagement with civic groups and decision makers.

Jeremy Porteus, Chief Executive, Housing LIN (Co-Investigator) 

Jeremy was formerly National Lead for Housing at the Department of Health responsible for its then Extra Care Housing capital programme and known for his thought leadership. After leaving the department, he founded the independent Housing LIN, bringing together housing, health and social care professionals in England, Wales and Scotland to exemplify innovative housing solutions for an ageing population, with a belief that when great people come together and share ideas, inspirational things happen.

Jeremy has written extensively on housing for an ageing population and ageing friendly design (RIBA), author and secretariat to the APPG on Housing and Care for Older People HAPPI inquiries, sits on several influential academic, trade and professional body Commissions and Advisory Boards, and is a judge on the government’s Home of 2030 competition.

Randall Smith, University of Bristol (Co-Investigator)

Emeritus Professor, School for Policy Studies

A retired but research active Professor of Social Gerontology in the School for Policy Studies (SPS) at the University of Bristol. Throughout his career, he has taken an interest in policy for and the management of services in adult social care, particularly for older people.The main sources of funding have been the ESRC and the NIHR-School for Social Care Research. In the last decade, the focus of the research has been mainly on housing with care and has led to a series of jointly published articles in a variety of journals, including Ageing & Society, Housing, Care and Support. He is currently a member of an ESRC funded research team at SPS looking at diversity in the care environment, promoting social inclusion in housing care and support for older people in England and Wales.

Jim Hudson, University of Bristol (Researcher) 

Jim is a Senior Research Associate at the School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol. He has worked with Karen West and other team members while based at LSE London for the last 18 months, working primarily on a project for the MHCLG that examined community-led housing and loneliness. He originally trained as a Chartered Building Surveyor and project manager, working primarily on housing renewal schemes across London and the southeast. He subsequently lived in Berlin for several years, writing on architecture and urban planning, and got interested in the city’s legacy of collaborative and self-managed housing projects. His PhD (completed 2019) explored the negotiation of later life and mutual support among established cohousing groups of older people in Berlin.

Aimee Felsteadt, University of Bristol / University of Sheffield

Aimee is a Senior Research Associate at the School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol alongside her role as a Teaching Associate at the Department of Landscape Architecture, The University of Sheffield. She worked as a Designer and Landscape Architect for 5 years, before undertaking an MA in social research in 2017. She recently completed (2022) a PhD exploring cohousing residents’ involvement in shared residential landscapes, which produced a card game to help residents solve the challenges of designing, maintaining and governing shared outdoor spaces. Her research interests include community-led urban design, collaborative housing landscapes and creative research methods.