Housing our Ageing Population Panel for Innovation (HAPPI)

HAPPI Hexagon diagram of influence extent

The HAPPI principles are based on 10 key design criteria. Many are recognisable from good design generally - good light, ventilation, room to move around and good storage - but they have particular relevance to the spectrum of older persons' housing which needs to both offer an attractive alternative to the family home, and be able to adapt over time to meet changing needs.

They reflect:

  • Space and flexibility
  • Daylight in the home and in shared spaces
  • Balconies and outdoor space
  • Adaptability and 'care ready' design
  • Positive use of circulation space
  • Shared facilities and 'hubs'
  • Plants, trees, and the natural environment
  • Energy efficiency and sustainable design
  • Storage for belongings and bicycles
  • External shared surfaces and 'home zones'


Cover HAPPI2 smallThe 2009 report by the Housing our Ageing Population Panel for Innovation contains case studies with details of design features and provide some information about how the schemes are integrated with the wider community.
View the HAPPI report to find out recommendations made by the authors to design housing for older people.


cover_small HAPPI 2In 2012, the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Housing and Care for Older People held an inquiry to consider progress towards the adoption of the recommendations and the design criteria set out in HAPPI. Their report discovered what more could be done to scale up the provision of new forms of housing to accommodate the demand of an ageing UK population. To emphasise the focus on delivery, the APPG has called this report, Housing our Ageing Population: Plan for Implementation - HAPPI.


Cover sml HAPPI 3 In 2015, a new APPG Housing and Care for Older People Inquiry - 'Making Retirement Living A Positive Choice' - appointed an expert panel and held 4 inquiry sessions with industry leaders to ascertain best and innovative practice, exploring different service options and advocating for improvement in standards and practice in the management of retirement properties. View HAPPI3 to find out more about the terms of reference.

In June 2016, the APPG launched its resultant findings in 'Housing our Ageing Population: Positive Ideas' (or HAPPI 3). The report contains recommendations for providing greater choice and control in housing for older people and ways in which Government policy and actions by house builders and other stakeholders can make a difference.


In April 2018, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Housing and Care for Older People published its inquiry findings into 'Rural Housing for an Ageing Population: Preserving Independence' (or HAPPI 4). It warns that growing numbers of older people in rural areas will face a 'huge challenge to their independence and well-being' as their homes become unsuitable. By 2039, nearly half of rural households will be aged over 65, while the gap between the average age in rural and urban areas continues to widen.

HAPPI 4 states policy makers must "recognise the growing housing needs of older people in the countryside". Amongst a series of recommendations, the Inquiry calls for the creation of extra care housing 'hubs' in rural areas to bring services for an ageing population together into a single space, while recommending that every Local Plan contains specific sites for new housing of older people, including much needed housing solutions developed by rural landowners, local councils, housing associations, community land trusts and/or almshouses.


Over recent years the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Housing and Care for Older People has looked at the housing needs and opportunities for older people, producing a series of Inquiry reports on Housing for an Ageing Population, known as HAPPI.

Because the great majority of those over pension age are owner-occupiers (including leaseholders), previous reports have concentrated on the people in this tenure. Homeowners have the advantage of some equity in their property – a lot in some areas, not much in other places – and this can be used to pay for a “rightsizing” move or for making their current home more comfortable.However, what about the needs of older renters? In the latest APPG report, Rental Housing for an Ageing Population, the inquiry considered those older people who are tenants, renting in either the social or private rented sector (PRS).

Making retirement living affordable: the role of shared ownership housing for older people
(also referred to as SO-HAPPI)

This APPG Inquiry report highlights and evaluates the key issues concerning the development of the market for shared ownership for older people. Launched on 16 January at the House of Lords, it draws on evidence sessions and written submissions to the year-long Inquiry from shared owners, housing providers, housing organisations, academics, lenders, regulators, advisers and housing experts.

The resultant Inquiry report, co-chaired by Lord Best and Peter Aldous MP, sets out the key issues including stronger consumer protection, better product awareness and understanding, resales and 'staircasing', links to health and social care, planning and design, and comments on the current situation, making 24 recommendations for improving the offer and supporting the growth of the shared ownership sector.