Forms of Communal Living:Ages & Stages

For a couple of decades, I’ve had recurring conversations about how, through our progression of ages and stages into later life, our concepts for living arrangements might be re-envisioned. This always led straight to explore variations on forms of communal living. But in my mind it never took the form of totally segregated adult communities. Certainly not the ones where you were isolated from the greater community.

Closer to my current variation on this theme, I just read a piece from the RC21 Conference in Amsterdam July 2011, from the subject stream “Living with a Difference”, Diversity and Social Cohesion. Maren Godzik’s paper is “Alternative forms of housing for the elderly in Japan and their role of creating new places of encounter between older and younger people in urban areas.”

Godzik’s paper sets off a number of flash points for more discussion in future blog postings. But let me start with not the least of one of my trigger points – how and when do we describe elderly in our modern context? Because for a start, the exploration of “creating new places of encounter” doesn’t just rest with perceptions of what older people want or need but also should consider how younger people will contribute to this vision of communal living.

Finding alternative forms that cross blurring lines of all ages and stages of life is everybody’s shout. What works in Japan’s culture may be a great model but how will it transpose in the Americas?

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