KADK exports know-how to Japan

Cooperation and business

Associate Professor at the School of Architecture, René Kural has been given a guest professorship at the prestigious Tokyo Institute of Technology. He will spend the autumn semester teaching a class of students to see the increasing number of Japanese elderly people as a resource, and to remodel the urban environment so it takes much more account of, and supports the needs of the elderly.

New figures show that 26.7% of the Japanese population are over 65 years old and this figure is steadily increasing. By 2060, 40% of the Japanese population will be 65 and over, and most of them will live in cities. Consequently, the need to shape cities on the basis of the needs of this population group is becoming more and more pressing. So is the need to use the elderly as a flexible asset in society. This is the basis for René Kural’s guest professorship at the prestigious Tokyo Institute of Technology. As Chairman of the interdisciplinary research network, APEN, which focuses on health-promoting urban environments, René Kural will have a wealth of experience to draw on, when he teaches a class of 26 Japanese architecture students.

René Kural teaches a class of 26 students at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

Senior citizens are a resource
In the workshop, ‘Shaping Activity and Health-Enhancing Physical Environments for Seniors’, René Kural will encourage the students to see the growing group of senior citizens as a resource rather than an economic burden. The team will work on design and architecture as elements, which will not only contribute to the better physical and mental health of the individual senior citizen, but also increase physical activity and social interaction in public spaces.

“It is incredibly exciting to be given an opportunity to teach Japanese students something we are really good at in the School of Architecture,” says René Kural. “For many years, we have been working on the impact of urban space on physical activity and public health, and can really see that this is something the rest of the world should now take a serious look at. It provides a golden opportunity to export our know-how, and to create synergy with others, whose living conditions and development can, to a certain extent, be compared to ours.”

The guest professorship takes place in the 2016 autumn semester.