Public defence doctoral thesis: Micheline Phlix

Micheline Phlix has the pleasure to invite you to the defence of her doctoral thesis: "The ageing-migration-home nexus: Exploring older migrants’ sense of home & subjective wellbeing. Translating insights to design."

Prior to the defence, you are invited to the mini symposium: "Ageing Well in Place: Where, how and for whom?"

27 februari 2024
13h30 - 19h30
Oude Gevangenis, Martelarenlaan 42, 3500 Hasselt
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Dit event is reeds afgelopen

Tuesday February 27th 2024 | 13h30 - 15h30 | Aula Verhaegen @ Campus Oude Gevangenis Hasselt:

Symposium: Ageing Well in Place: Where, how and for whom

  • Prof. dr. Ann Petermans (UHasselt) & Prof. dr. An-Sofie Smetcoren (VUB): “HOUSE: challenges in Flanders on innovating housing for older adults and subjective wellbeing”

  • Dra. Gwendoline Schaff (ULiège/UHasselt): “Perspectives on aging in place in Wallonia”.

  • Dr. Mark Hammond (Manchester School of Architecture): “Social Housing and Spatial Justice: Collaborative approaches to ‘ageing in place’ in high-rise accommodation.”

  • Prof. dr. Majella Kilkey (University of Sheffield): “Creative Methods for Researching Ageing in Place with Older Migrants”

Tuesday February 27th 2024 | 16h00 - 18h00 | Aula Roppe @ Campus Oude Gevangenis Hasselt:

Pubic defence of doctoral thesis Micheline Phlix: "The ageing-migration-home nexus: Exploring older migrants’ sense of home & subjective wellbeing. Translating insights to design."

The abstract

Two trends formed the starting point for this PhD research.

First, our older population is growing with most older adults wishing to age in place, often in their long-time home. However, although growing old in one’s own home is generally good for people’s happiness or subjective wellbeing, most of the current housing stock is not equipped to facilitate this wish.

Second, our older population is not only growing but also diversifying. Due to labour migration streams throughout the 20 th century and globalisation, Belgium’s older population is becoming ‘superdiverse’. However, how this new demographic reality affects housing experiences is not clear, as not much is known about older migrants’ home, subjective wellbeing and housing wants and needs.

Therefore, in line with the interdisciplinary nature of this joint PhD in Architecture and Adult Educational Sciences, its goal is twofold:

1) to gain insight into older migrants’ sense of home and subjective wellbeing and
2) to explore older migrants’ housing wants and needs and translate insights to housing and neighbourhood design.

To do so, the PhD is divided into three empirical parts:

Part I explores older migrants’ sense of home and residential reasonings behind ageing in place via semi-structured interviews which also used photographs (i.e. photo-elicitation). It also focuses specifically on the role of language in older migrants’ sense of home.

Part II investigates older migrants’ subjective wellbeing via semi structured interviews and explores older migrants’ meaning-making of ‘happiness’. Finally, part III concerns the (interior) architectural part. It first looks at older migrants’ housing wants and needs to then translate these, via an exploratory research-by-design study, to age friendly housing design. The scale is then broadened in a second research-by-design study that explores age-friendly and diversity sensitive design interventions in public places of a superdiverse neighbourhood, of which older migrants make part.

The concluding chapter discusses the main findings of the PhD in which the dynamic nature of older migrants’ sense of home, subjective wellbeing and housing wants and needs is highlighted. Moreover, the limited role of migration background to older migrants’ home and subjective wellbeing is addressed. Finally, the doctoral thesis concludes with implications for academia and practice and direction for future research.

About the jury

  • Chair: Prof. ir. arch. Stefan Devoldere, Hasselt University, Belgium
  • Promotors: Prof. Dr Jan Vanrie, Hasselt University, Belgium & Prof. Dr An-Sofie Smetcoren, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
  • Co-promotor: Prof. Dr Ann Petermans, Hasselt University, Belgium
  • Committee members: Prof. Dr Liesbeth De Donder, Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Belgium & Prof. Dr Dirk Geldof, University of Antwerp, Belgium
  • External jury members: Dr Mark Hammond, Manchester School of Architecture, UK & Prof. Dr Majella Kilkey, University of Sheffield, UK

A dissertation submitted to the Faculty of Architecture and Arts (Hasselt University) and the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) in fulfilment of the requirement for the double degree of Ph.D. in Architecture and Ph.D. in Adult Educational Sciences.

Register here for the symposium and/or the defence of Micheline Phlix

Date and location:

  • Tuesday February 27th 2024
  • 13h30 - 15h30: Mini Symposium (aula Verhaegen)
  • 16h00 - 18h00: defence Micheline Phlix (aula Roppe)
  • 18h00 - 19h30: Reception (Panopticum)
  • On campus: Oude Gevangenis, Aula Roppe, Martelarenlaan 42, 3500 Hasselt


You can register for this symposium and/or the PhD defence of Micheline Phlix via this Google Form.

Please fill in this form before February 20th 2024.

More information

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