Prof. An-Sofie Smetcoren



An-Sofie Smetcoren is a lecturer and postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Educational Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. She obtained her Master's degree in Adult Educational Sciences in 2010 and her educational Master's degree in Teacher Training in 2011. She finished her PhD research on Older People & Housing in 2016 within the Belgian Ageing Studies research group under the supervision of prof. dr. Dominique Verté and prof. dr. Tinie Kardol. This doctoral study was made possible in part thanks to the Active Ageing Foundation - Stichting Bevordering Active Ageing.  


Her main research interests focus on how urban environments affect the daily lives of their older residents (e.g. with a focus on housing, but also access to services and care) and how processes of social inclusion and exclusion take place in communities. In addition, she has a particular interest in the experiences of and giving voice to older people in vulnerable situations through the use of co-creative and participatory research approaches. As senior researcher within the Society & Ageing Research Lab, she leads the research line "Housing and living environment".   


Currently she is a VUB promotor for the Strategic Basic Research (FWO-SBO) project HOUSE 'Innovating housing for older adults and subjective wellbeing'. In the past, she coordinated the research of several national and European projects such as Care & Living in Community (CALICO), RenoLab-C, Entour-Age Noord, etc. As a researcher she worked on several projects on housing and caring neighbourhoods. In addition, since 2015, she has been a lecturer for the bachelor-after-bachelor programme in Psychosocial Gerontology at Odisee University College.


An-Sofie is a member of the board of directors of 2 non-profit organisations: Aksent vzw (a local service centre in Brussels) and Samenhuizen vzw. 


  • Smetcoren, A.-S., De Donder, L., Verté, D. (2020). An applied approach to housing in later life. In A. Petermans, R. Cain (Eds.) Design for wellbeing: an applied approach (pp.194-205). New York: Routledge. 
  • Smetcoren, A.-S, De Donder, L., Duppen D., De Witte, N., Vanmechelen, O. & Verté, D. (2018). Towards an Active Caring Community in Brussels. In T. Buffel, S. Handler, C. Phillipson (Eds.) Age-friendly communities: A Global Perspective (pp.97-118). Bristol: Policy Press. 
  • Smetcoren, A.-S., De Donder, L., Dury, S., De Witte, N., Kardol, T., & Verté, D. (2017). Refining the push and pull framework: identifying inequalities in residential relocation among older adults. Ageing & Society, 37, 90-112. 


For a full overview: Pure Databank  



  • Housing & the home environment 

  • Caring communities 

  • Qualitative research – Social Design methods