Architects for Urban Aging – 6

Is it perhaps coincidental? These last blog posts end the year where I began in January 2013, with the five part series titled “The Houses that Seniors Built”.

Community design for urban aging. Affordable. Alternative. Adaptable. Seems to be the optimal way to look at the reality for most of us over the next 20 – 30 years.

Yet as architect Matthew Barac also says in the RIBA report – Silver Linings: The Active Third Age and The City –  “…history is littered with the ruins of cities that failed to act upon signs of change…. the idea that houses may be adapted as we grow older typically translates into an expensive checklist…” Not only that; some of the design elements and age-accommodated installations are not attractive upon a home re-sale. Renovate again? Bring in the home stager?

Silver Linings 2030. Aging in place is one thing. Building multiple retirement home concepts to warehouse even greater numbers of third-agers (those 60 to 74), morphing into their older years is another thing again. That trend is already here. It must be what hordes of people want or else we wouldn’t keep building them.

We have to look harder at how we rethink communities, as more people tend to live longer. The composition of neighbourhoods alters. Home and care needs change. And perhaps attitudes are changing, if only led by the third-ager conversations. If many of us don’t like the urban aging choices we see developing now, then what do we want?

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