Page 1

L i s a

I r v i n e ,

M A r c h

2 0 1 3

C r e a t i n g

C o mm u n i t i e s

3


Abstract Major life events almost always result in a change in housing need and relocation; the birth of a child may require additional space and a garden, the death of a partner in old age may sanction a move to a sheltered housing complex, a marriage to a family home. My post-graduate thesis paid reference to this and attempted to provide a solution - a life-time home in a high density urban setting. However, people asked; what’s the point? Would anyone want to stay in their home for a life-time? Well if the environment they lived in was a supportive one, if neighbors were friends, supporting each other in times of crisis; if the environment could be described as a strong ‘community’, then the answer would surely be yes. So if someone did stay in their home for a life-time, this residential setting would have to support them in the number of scenarios that may arise as an individual ages. This is how the second part of this investigation evolved; what are the residential design requirements of a multi-generation? After establishing a persuasive argument for the legitimate proliferation of community this book examines design which affects its growth, touching on issues of density, mixed use, community cooperation and intervention. Literature and interviews have been the main tools of my research however more interestingly, illustration has been used as a tool to investigate the data and creatively represent findings and conclusions. In the second half of this book a number of new design concepts that have the capacity to support multigenerational needs have been illustrated and explained. Hopefully, readers of this piece will be inspired and their interests captivated by the illustrations and intellectual concepts that are outlined.

5


Creating Successful Multi - Generational Communities

1

2

3

Why Build Community ?

Housing Multi-Generations

Dementia Design

Case Studies

Multi- Generational Specifics

The Building Blocks

Accessibility for All

The Role of Density

Housing to Allow In-situ Aging

Design Specifics to Alleviate the Symptoms of the Condition

The Advantages of Mixed Use

Mixing Pot Facilities

Community Co-operation Tactical Interventions

Lisa Irvine University of Strathclyde 2012/2013 MArch in Advanced Architectural 6


Creating Successful Multi - Generational Communities

4

5

6

Conclusions

Real Life Project

Index

Allotments in Dennistoun

Interviews Bibliography

Lisa Irvine University of Strathclyde 2012/2013 MArch in Advanced Architectural 7


8


Why Build Community? Case Studies.

Comparing two areas; one in need of regeneration / one with a visible community ethos Investigating aspects which contribute to these status’

9


Why Build Community? Society could do with more places that possess that ethereal feeling; that sense of warmth, comfort and security felt when one is surrounded by people who care and support them, like the family for instance. Places like these feel like they possess a strong sense of community. Today with the tensions born from living such insular lives which the built environment encourages through a thoughtless neglect of social design principles, lives of isolation which have detrimental effects on citizen well-being have evolved. Evidence of this pattern is most apparent when examining where a large majority of older people live today; in institutions, because mainstream community fails to meet the care and social needs of this group. Often older people are moved into institutions when they begin to need care or in response to loneliness. These places, where older people accumulate, are generally viewed undesirable by the general population (www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/ scripts/news_article.php?newsID=1498. Findings show that the majority of adults would prefer not to move into specifically designed retirement housing (Shelter, 2012, 18). However, a lone older singleton may have no other choice; they have no neighbor to chat to when they are feeling low or ask a favour from and their family live too far away to help them out. Older people who would benefit from knowing their neighbor and living in a tight nit community just don’t know these days whos living next door and are given little opportunity or encouragement to find out,

10

Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?

Formulaic Family Housing in Glasgow

Standard Care Home / Elderly People with Advanced Care Needs

D o c k s i d e H o u s i n g i n G l a s g o w / Yo u n g Professionals


through a lack of communal space and by a failure to incorporate residential design that promotes social mixing. When examining the housing market it is evident that housing is tailored to suit the needs of generally one demographic and inflexible to any change in this user groups needs; such as having a child. This inflexible design prevents the inclusion of a wide range of ages in a residential setting, due to lack of amenities that cater for the variety of, and fluctuating, aged needs. For example, the lack of private garden green space in a city centre flat complex will undoubtedly decrease the attractiveness of a city centre flat to some parents, just as a high density urban flat might not be appealing to an older person who desires the ‘community’ of a village.

F i r s t C a s e S t u d y, L a u r i e s t o n , G l a s g o w. P a v e m e n t s i n d i s r e p a i r, F a c i l i t i e s a n d S h o p s C l o s e d u p D u r i n g t h e D ay. N o - o n e s p e n d s a ny time in public realm / Weak Sense of Community

With developers earmarking sites, speculating the demographic of the potential customer and then designing accordingly, the result is often mono cultured place that fails to posses the diversity required to nourish the growth of community, with homogenous populations rarely having the capacity to support one-another by exchanging skills and favours. Evidence shows that places with less of a social mix and less socially mixing neighbors also possess higher levels of crime, anti-social behavior and more vandalism (Gowell, 2013). Places where people don’t know and mix with their neighbors miss out on the social enrichment communities offer. Places with no community also

Crime rates in Laurieston are extremely high.

Why Build Community? 11


fail to support more vulnerable members of the population by not encouraging neighborly informal care bonds that ensure older people can remain in their homes and feel safer in their environment during crisis points in their lives. A single generation place will also impact on child well-being, with streets less self policing and possessing less neighborhood watch, making the street a less attractive place for a parent to let their child play, without the watchful eye of that older neighbor looking out for them. Furthermore, the child is less likely to know other children in their community if parents don’t know and trust other parents in their neighborhood. The goal must be more positive constructive neighbor relationships that are generated by communal living. Second Case Study / Woodlands / The streets are alive with Community Action / Gap site turned into community allotments

12

Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?

R a n g e o f a g e s u s i n g t h e p u b l i c r e a l m i n Wo o d l a n d s


The physical environments in places lacking in community also suffer. In strong communities people know each other and work together to turn around disused space in their neighborhood into functioning community spaces as is the case in Woodlands, Glasgow. The provision of community spaces in turn encourages neighbors to spend time outside with oneanother, further building the community. If people know and respect their neighbor, they are also more likely to better upkeep their own space and be more respectful in general of shared surroundings to avoid neighborhood conflict. There is no denying the importance of a variety of economic and employment situations and intellectual / social outlooks that are only truly present with a multi generational population to create sense of community. The mixing of viewpoints, attitudes and the cooperation opportunities a multi-generational group possesses encourages neighborly friendships and helps grow community. Homogenous groups are less likely to have diverse skills that will be of use for neighborly borrowing or exchange. For a working parent with a young child for example, having an elderly neighbor who doesn’t work may be very useful in terms of the older individual 1/ baby sitting and 2/ being a positive role model to their child. Such an exchange may benefit the older person too, relieving possible loneliness and adding to their self-worth (which is often degraded in retirement) (Dean, 2009: 79). Furthermore, it is likely that the parent will be more willing to carry out informal care duties in

“Community grows when people feel belonging within a group, in a place with a distinctive sense of place, among friends who look out for them, stimulate them and come to their rescue in times of need.�

Why Build Community? 13


return for the older persons effort; such as collecting a prescription in the event of incapacity, resulting in more trusting and cooperative neighborly friendships; the bones of community. Methodology This body of work will begin with a discussion of whether design informs the strength of social bonds within a residential urban setting and as a result the overall sense of community. In part 1, the ‘community’ being discussed will be defined and factors affecting its formulation investigated. In part 2, design implications which affect how fully an environment can support the needs of multi-generations will also be considered, with sense of community usually being stronger and more possible in multi-aged settings.

Two areas of Glasgow with contrasting ‘community feel’ will firstly be exemplified to inform the design debate. What physicalities are present in places that possess that illusive and difficult to define entity of community? Laurieston, an area just south of Glasgow city centre has been included in a Glasgow City regeneration plan (http://www.glasgow.gov.uk/ index.aspx?articleid=6370 ) whereas when perceiving Woodlands it is possible that what is experienced is a place with contrasting strong community. The first case study examined is Laurieston on the south side of Glasgow, a stones throw away from the bustling city centre. Its close proximity to the city centre should really mean Laurieston is an extension of the centres lively character however it is quite the antithesis of this; a gloomy and desolate place

Laurieston

Woodlands

Outdoor space is almost entirely unoccupied / The place exhibits little character and sense of p l a c e w i t h i t s open, empty spaces, derelict spaces. Few neighbours chat, meet or greet on the streets which are desolate.

Children play / People meet and greet on the streets. P l a c e f e e l s s a f e r, f r i e n d l i e r, h a p p i e r and is more welcoming.

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Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?


possessing almost no sense of community at all.

to this?

Woodlands on the West side of the city centre is on the other hand, an extension of the bustling city centre, possessing an animated street scape and a plentiful supply of community facilities. Walking around the place is heart warming, with laughter from children playing in the closes, neighbors chatting in the streets and feelings of love and care for the environment exhibited in gap sites transformed into community gardens, allotments, murals and mosaics.

Furthermore, there are far more derelict sites in Laurieston than in Woodlands, reducing the attractiveness of the public realm and possibly decreasing its safety, due to an unwillingness of those living in the area to spend time outdoors in the public realm. As a result residents are less likely to meet each other and form the neighborly connections that create community.

Looking at the design that is informing the contrasting character of these places, the differences in density is what strikes the most. Laurieston’s density stands at 9 dwellings per hectare and woodlands 85 (SNS UK Government Statistics, 2012). Could this be key to the poor sense of place evoked in Laurieston the reason behind the desolate streets that discourage the growth of community? Buildings used for all the same purposes lining street after street in Laurieston - with large retail units and workshops being the most common building use, which lie unoccupied at similar times of the day, compared to the multitude of building uses evident in Woodlands streets, may also contribute to the monotonous appearance of Laurieston.

Two key design determinants have arisen from this comparison study that seem to affect the quality of the public realm and affect whether ‘sense of place’ exists or not; 1) Density 2) Composition of Mixed Use Buildings These two concepts will be discussed later on in the thesis. In terms of building communities, a sense of ownership and pride in a place can encourage bonds to form within groups of people and add to their sense of togetherness in an environment, bolstering community characteristics.

Crime rates in Laurieston also seem to be inflated compared to crime rates in Woodlands (SNS UK Government Statistics, 2012). Could the low density and single use character of the streets be contributing

Why Build Community? 15


Case Study

Focus on : Laurieston Wo o d l a n d s

Location Plan Reveals Low Density

Working Age Children Pensionable Age

Laurieston

% of Population Prescribed Menta Health Medication

Working Age

Worki

Children

Childr

Pensionable Age

Pensio

% of Population Prescribed Menta Health Medication

Population: 2137 Deprivation Rank: 1552

Owned

Owned Observations; deserted streets, unkempt housing and Social Rented buildings, noise pollution from the abundance of roads Social Rented Private Rented and cars, little communally used outdoor Private Rented space but plenty of derelict sites, no community Housing Ownership Housing Ownership Housing Ownership facilities evident or advertised, no main street, Laurieston Woodlands Laurieston centre or memorable features, very few trees, vandalism, litter, a deterioration of valuable Working Age historic fabric which lies in disrepair Working Age Children Children Statistics show; Almost double the crime of Woodlands Housing Ownership Pensionable Age even though higher levels of home ownership, greater Laurieston Pensionable Age anti-social behaviour, higher incidences of mental illness 100

80

Own

Priva

Soci

Worki

Childr

Pensio

60

Population Make-up Laurieston

% of Population Prescribed Menta Health Medication

40

Average House Price Comparison

20

Own

Owned

% of Population Prescribed Menta Health Medication

0

Priva Number of dwellings per hectar Soci

Social Rented

Comparison of statistics reveals people in Woodlands are happier, healthier and Private Rented

10

Working Age

Working Age Housing Ownership Laurieston Children

Children

8 Working Age

Children

Children

Pensionable Age

Pensionable Age

Social Rented 100

6

Owned

4

Social Rented Private Rented

Owned 100

Working Age

Minutes

% of Population Prescribed Menta Health Medication

Housing Ownership Woodlands

Pensionable Age

Pensionable Age

1

80

80 Private Rented 60

Owned Average House Price Comparison Private Rented

40

Rented AverageSocial House Price Comparison

2

60

40

20

Owned

b l a n d , i n d e f e n s i b l e , u n f r i e n d l y a nHousing d u n aOwnership ttractive spaces create a 0 c o l d a n d b o r i n g s t r e e t l i f e w i t h l i t t l e Laurieston a c t i v i t y, w a r m t h a n d s i g n s o f community Owned

20

Private Rented

0

100

% of People Within 500 Metres of a Derelict Site

40

Average House Price Comparison

16

Pensionable Age

20

Working Age

15

Children

10

Pensionable Age

5 0

40

Average House Price Comparison

Children

20

60

9

25

60

80

12

30

Working Age Average House Price Comparison

15

40 35

80

100

Number of dwellings per hectar

0

Drive time to GP

Housing Ownership Woodlands

Drive time to GP

Housing Ownership Laurieston

Drive time to post office

Social Rented Housing Ownership Woodlands

Housing Ownership Private Rented Laurieston

Drive time to post office

Social Rented

% of Population Prescribed Mental Health Medication 0 % of Population Prescribed 20 Menta Health Medication

Number of dwellings per hectare

0 Number of Fires

Number of dwellings per hectare

Number of Dwellings Per Hectare

Number of Fires

Owned Social Rented Private Rented

Owned Private Rented Social Rented

6

3


Focus on : Woodlands Wo o d l a n d s

Location Plan Reveals High Density

Working Age

Working Age

Children

Children

Pensionable Age

Pensionable Age

Laurieston

Working Age

Working Age

Children

Children

Pensionable Age

Pensionable Age

Population: 4139 Deprivation Rank: 3627 % of Population Prescribed Menta Health Medication

Owned

Owned

Observations; many peopleOwned on the street, evidence of Owned Private Rented Social Rented Private Rented diverse cultural mix, pretty communal Social Rented Private Rented squares and front gardens, Social Rented Social Rented liveliness, diverse range of character full spaces, variety of Private Rented facilities, a wealth of community resources,diverse Housing Housing Ownership Housing OwnershipOwnership Laurieston Woodlands Woodlands housing, well maintained streets and dwellings Statistics show; far lower rates of crime than Laurieston Working Age Working Age even though larger population and denser environment Working Age Working Age (possible outcome of self-policing streets) as well as Children Children Children Children Housinggreater Ownership Housing Ownership Pensionable Age Pensionable Age mix of tenure, less incidence of mental illness than Laurieston Woodlands Pensionable Age Laurieston, less anti-social behaviour, shorter Pensionable Age journey times may also be contributing factor to safety with more % of Population Prescribed Population Make-up Health Medication walking to shops and facilities people onMenta the streets Woodlands 100

80

60

40

Average House Price Comparison

20

Owned

Owned

0

Private Rented Number of dwellings per hectare Social Rented

Social Rented

less likely to be victims of crime? Could the 100 environment be affecting these stats? Private Rented

10

Housing Ownership Laurieston

6

Private Rented

100 60

Social Rented Minutes

Owned

Owned

8

Average House Price Comparison

Housing Ownership Woodlands

80

100 80

Private Rented

60

2

60

40

40

20

Average House Price Comparison

80

60

4

Social Rented

100

80

40

40

20

busy streets, happy people, occupied outdoor realm and 0 Housing Ownership o f o u t d o o r sWoodlands paces add to the pleasant Number of dwellings per hectare 8 character of place and perceived sense of community 20

35

0

Drive time to GP

Drive Drive time time to to post GP office

1200

15 10 5

100

Drive Drive time time to to post GP office80

20

0

Drive Times to Community Facilities60

1500

100

1200

80

900

60

600

40

300

20

0

0

40

0

Number of dwellings per hectare

1500

20

% of People Within 500 Metres of a Derelict Site

No Crimes Per 100,000 of No of of Crimes Per 100,000 of Population Population

Number of Fires

Drive time to GP

2

Drive time to post office

40

60

30

Drive time to GP

% of People Within 500 Metres of a Derelict Site

80

40

25

20

% of People Within 500 Metres of a Derelict Site

Number of dwellings per hectare

100

35

4

20

0

0

% of People Within 500 Metres of a Derelict Site

60

0

Number of dwellings per hectare

0

40

40

20

0

Drive time to post office

80

60

6

Drive time to post office

100

Minutes

80

Drive time to GP

100

Drive time to post office

10 Housing Ownership g rLaurieston e e n s p a c e ,0 p e r s o n a l i z a t i o n

Number of dwellings per h

17

Statistics from http://www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/ 40

40 35

1500

1200


18


Part 1 Creating Community

Design Notes ; What informs its creation?

19


Conceptual Model of Research

INCREASING PROXIMI TIES, INCREASES INTERACTION/ GROWTH OF BONDS, OWNERSHIP OF SPACE, WHICH DOES NOT OCCUR IN ‘SPRAWL’. IF SPACE IS LIMITED IT BECOMES MORE VALUABLE AND BETTER UTILISED A MORE DIVERSE COMMUNITY MEANS TIMINGS OF SPACE OCCUPATION MORE VARIED = MORE POSSIBILITIES FOR SOCIAL INTERACTION

Density Mix Use Buildings

MOBILISING A GROUP OF DESIGN USERS TO CARRY OUT THE DESIGN MEANS SHARED EXPERIENCES PRIOR TO USE OF DESIGN AND SEEDS OF COMMUNITY PLANTED

User Based Design

PEOPLE MEETING AND FORMING BONDS WHILST IMPROVING THEIR OWN PUBLIC SPACES

Tactical Interventions

USING DESIGN TO BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER

Designed Elements

erational Commu n e G niti ltiu es M Old Creating Communities Mutual Care Bonds = Community =

Social Place Safer Place More Attractive Place

er P eop le

Isolated Singl

es

Families

e yon r e Ev

GREATER DIVERSITY OF AGES = GREATER DIVERSITY OF KNOWLEDGE, WISDOM AND PERSONALITIES Accessibility In situ Aging Housing Facilities for all Dementia Solutions

20

Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?

Multi- Generational Living


Creating Successful Communities Promoting Community growth could be an answer to the endemic sociological and economic problems that riddle our society. Examining the make-up of today’s society confronts you with fragmentation of a number of different kinds; divisions in ideologies, physical separations between the settlements of differently aged people, religious beliefs and cultures down to smaller scale divisions such as that of insular housing units in suburban landscapes. The typical high density city flat exhibits just as minimal a relationship with its neighbors as the white picket fence suburban home high density housing, with communal space kept to a minimum and its harmony with the wider context no more than through similar color reference. In a world faced with so many problems that could be alleviated by more togetherness and cohesion, surely the focus of policy makers should be to create communities where informal bonds between groups are encouraged to relieve issues of loneliness and isolation and reduce the prevalence of age dependency on paid care, as well as leading children to grow up in more inclusive places, surrounded by the sights and sounds of multigenerations, cultures and backgrounds, making them grow into more grounded and cooperative individuals.

Through illustrations and analysis, the first aim of this work will be to define the concept of community and debate its importance. Then, from an architectural standpoint, it will investigated how community can be created and how the physical environment can either encourage or discourage the social interaction and togetherness essential for its creation. A dissection of literature combined with subsequent personal reflection will be carried out in the first instance and afterwards, interviews with relevant sources will be embarked on to formulate a more in depth hypothesis about community conception and its sustainability. Building a sense of community is a vital necessity if the aim is to home multi-generations, just as the presence of multi-generations is vital to form ‘communities’ themselves. For example, it would be improbable that an elderly person with physical difficulties would remain comfortable living in a multi-generational setting if a sense of togetherness, belonging and the mutual care bonds that occur as a result of these aspects cease to exist. Feelings of unease coupled with a lack of informal neighborly care may result in an older person making the decision to move to a care facility, with probable cost to the government and certainly great cost to the wellbeing and pocket of the older person. So assuring community to prevent such a move is important. Evidence also proves that greater neighborliness (community) results in safer living environments, with studies conducted by the Joseph Rowntree Association revealing residents generally described the world

Why Build Community? 21


Lack of community / Disorder / Lonliness / Isolation / Discontent / Violence

Community / Pride / Order / Friendships / Safety / Maintainence / Mutual Care

22

Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?


outside their front door as ‘chaotic and frightening’, leading them to look after themselves more and care less about their neighbors; an apathetic attitude that has been linked to higher levels of crime and violence (Mowlam JRF, 2008, 4).

and community is not a new idea. Delanty (2003) argues that community can be ‘exclusive or inclusive’, as it is after all a concept ‘expressing locality and particularness – the domain of immediate social relations, the familiar’ (Delanty, 2003, 12).

What is community?

It is questionable if this concept of familiarity with one’s environment exists today - where people are acquainted with and attached to their surroundings to the extent that they engage in social interaction within them; with the environment becoming a stage displaying friendships and shared ideology. An increasingly digitalized and motorized age puts into doubt if communities nowadays exist beyond the internet. Are people investing time, energy and creativity in the places in which they live work or spend their free time in or are they failing to do this, shackled by modern life constraints -commuting for hours every day and spending more time online than ever before?

To begin with the concept of community must be defined, which is somewhat difficult. From a personal perspective, a contemporary definition may be ‘an ethereal quality of togetherness amongst a group of individuals who live together, who share a common ethos or aim’. Historically, Aristotle used the word community (Koinomia) to describe the city (Delanty, 2003, 7) and so the link between urbanity

The philosophy of “Community Breakdown”

With increasing time spent online these days, creating places which offer the real social interaction people crave should be on our agendas

‘Sociologists such a Tonnies, Weber and Nisbet believe it was the breakup of the medieval guilds and corporations, the commercialisation of agriculture and subsequent emergence of capitalism that caused the decline in autonomy of the cities and disenchantment with community’ (Delanty, 2003, 15). This seems valid as the effect of globalization on the individual is obvious; the connections between individuals in the community are being lost as everything becomes outsourced to achieve greater profit margins; take

Why Build Community? 23


the historical example of visiting a local butcher to buy meat for dinner and building a relationship with the person supplying it. Instead nowadays, it is picked anonymously off a supermarket shelf and put through a dehumanizing process of machine check-outing which requires no social exchange and an absence of opportunity to share common beliefs aspirations, dreams and attitudes with others. In fact, globalization could almost be viewed as a conspiracy to stifle political discussions through making the necessity to form working relationships with others redundant with the advance of technology and with the internet used as a surveillance mechanism to identify political revolt. Rosseau for example, identified modernism as ‘the alienation of the individual and the loss in political autonomy’ (Delanty, 2003, 12). Painters on the fringe of the modernist era such as Edward Hopper

convey the idea of estrangement in modern urban environments poignantly revealing the emptiness of city space and emphasizing in figure studies the distinct separations that exist between people’ even in a busy settings. Several studies agree that modernism and the advance of capitalism have led to inequalities which detrimentally affect the way people live today. Developers aim to build houses cheaply for as great a profit margin as possible combined with an obsession to home-own at an inflated rate has led to overworked ‘stressed adults working away from home for long hours to pay the mortgage and other bills’ (Falk, 2012, 14).

Man in company of machine, turns to machine

24

Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?


The direct effect on communities is obvious; people spend less time at home and ‘levels of community involvement fall’ (Falk, 2012, 14). The civil unrest and disrespect born from these increasingly isolated modern patterns of stressful living could be viewed as evident in the recent riots that saw a huge amount of vandalism and theft carried out by disrespectful youths obviously disinterested and completely disengaged with their communities. Yet with growing numbers of middle aged and older adults living alone (Gehl, 2010, 27 / Help the Aged) and an increase in the number of single parents and vulnerable older people, isn’t it essential to reverse public disengagement with habitual surroundings and stimulate instead the production of cooperative, friendly and community driven environments which benefit the well-being of everyone?

Hoppers paintings aptly convey the loneliness and isolation of the modern city

Why Build Community? 25


Why Community? Growing body of singletons With 21% of the population expected to be over 65 by 2026 and with a growing body of evidence suggesting that a large majority of these people will be single householders (3.5 million single householders in 1990 compared to a predicted 10.3 million by 2029) (Rudlin, 2009, 104), it is extremely important that communities offer more than a mute backdrop to life and instead become interactive microcosms of social support, encouraging friendships and informal care, thereby preventing isolation in the case of vulnerable single households and particularly the older demographic who may be less able to get out and about as much as they used to.

Innate

Community

Traditions

As households shrink, the need for social contacts outside the home grows (Gehl, 2010, 27) as humans are ultimately social people with natural desires to be around each other, which historically has always been the case with the tight tribal settlements of our ancestors, and the advantages that hunting and living together in packs yields. Increased Safety in Strong Communities Another argument that supports the value of building strong communities is evidence which suggests safety of an area improves as strength of togetherness increases, due to informal social control becoming apparent (GoWell Briefing, 2012). It is

26

Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?

Growing body of singletons results in a growing necessity of the environment to stimulate socialising


realistic to believe that a sense of attachment and care for one another within an environment would translate into neighbors supporting each-other in times of crisis and into a distrust of strangers penetrating that community, their home, in order to protect their own (Rudlin, 2009, 115). Also likely is that people who feel a greater sense of belonging in their residential community have less inclination to move and as a result there is lesser residential turnover, which is correlated with reduced crime rates for all types of crime except burglary and theft (GoWell Briefing, 2012).Locations with better communities are more economically and socially stable. With regards to these arguments it is surprising how little care and thought goes into the formulation of community when places are being built. With the exception of a few organizations like HTA who feel user consultation is a vital part of the design process, which translates into a group who know each other and share

Neighbourhood watch in dense urban environments increases the safety of place

common ideals once they move in together at the end of the day, most developers pay almost no attention to how design can promote informal social bonds and closeness amongst its users. There is an argument that; “the existence of a strong community can be the difference between successful and declining areas and also yields benefits for those surrounding the build – if people feel more at home; they are less likely to want to move adding to the long-term profitability of surrounding businesses (Rudlin, 2009, 116). Then development is piecemeal; a thriving community attracts new business which in turn attracts further growth which adds to aesthetic vitality, character and busyness which all, in turn, then contribute to the distinctiveness of a place; an important ingredient of a community. The lack of community in suburbia Unfortunately “the basic building block of the twentieth century has become not the local community but the nuclear family” (Rudlin, 2009, 115) and it is most clear in suburbia how this has been fulfilled, with sprawling neighborhoods and a necessity to own a car if one wishes to visit a civilization densely populated with social or cultural opportunities. In the city many environments are just as unfriendly. Sparsely furnished, sparsely landscaped, indefensible and single use concrete spaces lie unoccupied after workers in the surrounding buildings have commuted miles home for the night. As Gehl puts it “man is man’s greatest joy” (Gehl, 2010, 33) and so ensuring

Why Build Community? 27


continued occupation is key. Ensuring people use civic and shared space is a necessity, especially with the rapidly growing number of single householders. People find comfort in bumping into their neighbors when they are feeling lonely and no doubt enjoy walking out into a busy street where children play, where there is life and vitality all around them to stop them feeling so alone. If there is ‘life and activity in a city space, there are also many social exchanges’ (Gehl, 2010, 22). So how do you create spaces where a community will grow? Answering these questions breaches a number of different topics.

Urban Densification stimulates visual diversity

Suburbia / A Stagnated Environment

28

Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?


Summary of arguments supporting the nourishment and encouragement of community growth and their “living” development

(Rudlin, 2009, 116). Studies in Glasgow reveal that in robust communities the crime rate is significantly lower (GoWell Briefing, 2012).

Summarizing the main arguments supporting why the synthesis of communities in our built environment is important; -The need to be around others is innate argues Rudlin (2010,20) who believes there is a figment ‘deep within human consciousness which seeks companionship and security’ and so the built environment must inspire this and be shaped to stage social activity. Having a place where ‘all groups of society, irrespective of demographic can meet face to face to provide general information to everyone about the composition and universality of society’ (Gehl, 2012, 28) is also crucial in informing political and social objectives as well. - Communities are needed to support the social wellbeing of a growing body of vulnerable populations, be they disabled, older or simply single householders. People who live in a strong community are more likely to ‘support their neighbors in small ways such as holding a spare set of keys or feeding the cat’ (Rudlin, 2009, 116). This kind of informal care can make the difference between whether an older person lives an isolated, help-free existence or a neighbor assisted one, sometimes making the crunch between staying and moving to an assisted living facility. -Secondly, stronger communities are a ‘fundamental aspect of urban life in the control of crime and order’

Synthesizing community –Introduction to main points In order to make stronger communities the effectiveness of six contributing factors will be discussed and used in the research and analysis of feasibility. 1) Density - Sub-urban sprawl must be corrected to create more intimate living surroundings where people carry out a diversity of life functions within, preventing car-dependency and excessive time spent commuting that results in less time for neighborly interaction, and sponsors feelings of alienation within residential surrounds

Why Build Community? 29


Suburbia. Vast distances between housing plots cut people off from one another

Dense City / Lively City Close proximities increases likelihood of interaction between neighbours

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Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?


2) Mixed Communities - Designing to support a multitude of users and uses in a master-plan will enable occupiers to carry out a multitude of activities within this master-plan as opposed to moving from place to place to carry out different ‘living, playing and working’ activities. As a result greater incentives will exist to become involved in the community, to invest in their surroundings and to build relationships with neighbors. A diverse mix of backgrounds, ages and incomes should also be supported to create livelier, safer communities as large housing schemes ‘for one tenure only lack the variation and complexity of mixed communities and lead to the development of ghettos, perceived or actual’ (Harrington, 2012, 225). 3) Community cooperation from the word go involvement in the design process early on, not only means a tailor made to user design, it gels users prior to occupation of the design. In ’Elemental’ Chile, social housing tenants are given half their house and enough adjacent space to double its size when funds permit. This type of user conscious design empowers the customer, ensuring long term sustainability by giving them the opportunity to invest their own design ideals to shape the community, enhancing sense of belonging in the community with the user having helped to create it. (http://www.archdaily.com/10775/quintamonroy-elemental/)

Community Co-operation

space to create better places and get to know one another. 5) Designed Elements – The public realm can be designed more thoughtfully to increase opportunities for social contact. Points specifically addressing how housing and public space can be designed to promote the growth of a multi-aged, multi-need population will follow the discussion scrutinizing the creation of ‘communities’.

4) Interventions / Tactical Urbanism - A relatively new concept to help cultivate community; workshops bind individuals to renovate unfit for use or run down

Why Build Community? 31


Why density and Living Closer Together results in the evolution of togetherness through more meeting, talking and friendships formed as a result Incarcerated beyond the city boundaries, thousands live in metastasis of sprawling sub-urban settlements that have hungrily devoured precious green spaces, to be occupied by consumers fooled into believing by developers that life in the suburbs offer a leafier, quieter, healthier and all round better existence. In fact the reality is that developers make more money developing greenbelt sites as opposed to urban brown field sites (Jack, 2008, The Guardian) and the cultural, environmental and social consequences of living in the picketed plots on the ends of cul-de-sacs, miles away from proper amnesties, are inhumane and generally ignored by target driven governmental planners. First of all, Harrington argues that ‘sub-urban lifestyles have detrimental effects on physical health due to longer time spent commuting which results in less time to carry out neighborly interaction, social activities and exercise; decreasing mental and physical well-being’ (Harrington, 2009, 224). He suggests greater levels of commuting have a negative impact on the formation of bonds and intimacy within a community as well, leading to higher levels of social exclusion and less instances of strongly bonded groups who live together from forming.

Densely designed places are more visually interesting, attractive and safer than suburban, sparsely inhabited environments

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Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?

Visual architectural deprivation is common in such hamlets arising from a layout solely evolved to serve the automobile. Harrington argues the


dominance of roads, roundabouts and pavements in a residential setting are ‘unlikely to create a feeling of belonging and a sense of place with character or local distinctiveness’. And if a place isn’t valued due to its poor architectural quality, residents will not share a sense of pride and protectiveness over that place and the bonding that arises from sharing beliefs will not exist, stifling the formation of community. Furthermore, the abundance of roads and pavements eat up space for communal squares, gardens and plazas, preventing informal social interaction from occurring.

However, Rudlin argues that suburbs being ‘singleuse and single-tenure type communities’ (Harrington, 2009, 225) strengthen community as it results in those in similar situations with similar values and aspirations being housed together (Rudlin, 2009, 123). Harrington differs in his approach, arguing this a weakness that results in places ‘lacking the variation and complexity of established communities’ (Harrington, 2009, 225). It is obvious that the more groups of people have in common, the more likely they are to want to spend time together and so in terms of suburb mono culture; this may be a binding element that enhances

M o s t s u b u r b s l a c k c h a r a c t e r, v i t a l i t y a n d l i f e d u e t o b e i n g f i l l e d w i t h o n l y o n e t y p e o f b u i l d i n g function - residential

Why Build Community? 33


community. However when you think in terms of how few cultural and ideological varieties would present in a homogenous environment, the effect would not induce a stimulating and diverse palette of ideals and activities being shared daily in a shared context, resulting in minimal life and activity on the street or cul-de sac and reducing opportunities for informal social interaction. Films such as ‘Revolutionary Road’ and ‘The Feminine Mystique’ portray the false illusion of suburb appeal and the deeply troubling effect on occupiers of the desolate, car-dependant neighborhoods. Friedman in The Feminine Mystique wrote a particularly eerie passage which depicts the unfulfilled lives of young suburban wives “kissing their husbands goodbye in front of the picture window, depositing their station wagon full of children at the school, and smiling as they ran the new electric waxer over the spotless floor” (Jack, 2008, Guardian), wryly identifying their lives slowly withering away. Mumford was of the opinion; “the suburbanite has the advantages of neither solitude, nor society…no shopping centre can give cohesion or social focus to the sprawling suburb” and was massively in favour of the medieval city as it possessed a “happy combination of unity and diversity” (www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5b_ s9mls4m). He held the fundamental belief that sharing information and ideas always has been and always will be the underpinning of society. This fundamental concept undermines the effectiveness of the monotone suburb lacking the space and diversity of

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Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?

The life of a sub-urban wife.....Content doing chores all day?

The fabric of suburbia


person to exchange further information, thoughts and ideals which spur on the progress of humanity. Having established the suburb as a poor pattern mechanism for living, what pattern must take its place? Both Krier and Mumford agree with the popular concept of urban densification and both see worth and value in the characteristics in the density of the medieval city (Mumford www.youtube.com/ watch?v=e5b_ s9mls4m/ Krier, 2009, 117). Mumford advocates that the city “multiplies man’s powers to think, to remember, to educate, to communicate and so make possible associations which bridge or bypass notions, cultures” and feels “this cosmopolitanism is the chief source of a cities vitality which must be enriched and enlarged as we move towards a new urban form” (www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5b_ s9mls4m). How can the city environment fulfil Mumford’s aspirations? Preventing further low density development on more green-field sites must be politically absconded and public land on brown field sites freed up for development, leading to the creation of a denser and more attractive city scape and ensuring that young families, older people and professionals with a range of incomes can enjoy the diversity and widerange of activities a city has to offer. Continued absorption of green space for housing development results in greater taxpayer cost to implement the new infrastructure to support these places with ‘authors

estimating that a house that costs £200,000 built in new town Milton Keynes will cost the taxpayer an extra £40,000 even though all the homes will be for private owners’ (Guardian, 2002). Giving public land to developers on the basis that they spend the same amount of money as they would if they’d had to buy the land would ensure more money in the pot to build higher quality housing that meets needs more fully. The extra money could be spent making the dwelling more flexible and community focussed with additional budgets for better stairwells, communal and public spaces. So whilst there remains a dichotomy in terms of whether or not a homogenous or heterogeneous social mix promotes community best, it is clear that the argument in support of densification is stronger in terms of bringing people closer together through the elimination of the car. Density also offers a stronger sense of place by supporting a wider array of architecture and activity, resulting in stronger sense of belonging attached to the place; a binding factor triggering interaction between occupants. Denser, built up places may also keep their inhabitants on home ground for longer as they are more likely to support a wider range of activities within shorter proximity, augmenting reason for occupants to invest more time in relationships with people who live nearby. Having established an argument for densification, what further ingredients must be added to create a ‘social sponge cake’?

Why Build Community? 35


A mixed use environment facilitates the living needs of multi-generations and ensures livelier more attractive places that people participate in more The greatest and strongest communities are surely those in which you hear whispers and shouts in a handful of languages, that grow around spaces frequented by the youngest and oldest members of the population dawn until dusk; spaces that nurture the values of acceptance and equality by revealing fascinating intimacies of different cultures to passersby or grannies on a top floor flats looking out onto unfolding city scenes below. Mixed communities ensure children grow up surrounded by an assortment of characters and traditions, ingraining in them the importance and necessity of acceptance in an increasingly multi-cultural society. In contrast to places alive with such diversity, mono-culture and single-use

M i x e d

36

fabric fails to offer diversity creating environments only occupied by people at certain similar times of the day. Historically born from the ideal to separate pollution and housing , Ebeneezer Howard’s greener city visions promoting ‘healthier living’ “permitted the integration of most modern workplaces with other uses” (Krier, 2009, 103). From this point onwards the concept of functional zoning snowballed out of control and has resulted in the creation of fragmented cities and “culture complexes, education campuses, industrial parks and shopping malls that no-one ever visits for their own sake, without a pre-determined end in mind” (Krier, 2009, 22). These places possess no sense of community, often turning their backs on surrounding fabric and being mostly accessed by car they add to the ecological damage caused by suburbs supporting the baron facilities.

- b u i l d i n g u s e m e a n s p u b l i c s p a c e w i l l a l w a y s b e i n i n c r e a s e d s o c i a l e x c h a n g e a n d a d d i n g t o p l a c e

Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?

o c c u p i e d , r e s u l t i n g ‘ p e r s o n a l i t y ’


Desolate Suburbia - Unoccupied shared spaces most of the day

The result of working, recreational, social and purchasing time being outsourced to these soulless facilities eliminates time being spent in the central ‘home place’, which has the result of directly decreasing the quality of this ‘home space’ with the consequence that it remains generally empty most of the time. Jane Jacobs describing an East Harlem neighborhood wrote “every fine summer night, television sets can be seen outdoors, used publicly, on the busy old sidewalks …each machine is the informal headquarters of a spot of a dozen or so men who divide their attention among the machine, the children they are in charge of, their cans of beer, each other’s comments and the greetings of passers-by” (Jacobs, 1993, 124). This is the sort of community that has no time to be re-in acted when neighbors spend their time in different fringes of the city purpose built to quench demand for a certain type of activity.

Krier (2009, 17) believes that “new master plans must guide normal social and industrial activities to become motors of urban development, to complete underdeveloped areas into true quarters and villages”. Here he is hypothesizing a future where cultural and industrial activity attracts and stimulates the growth of a settlement around it, ensuring activity, class and racial diversity of the surrounding population who work and use the various different resources. Almost the polar of this ideal were the New Town’s that solely became residential arteries serving the large towns and cities. Glancey describes the ‘new town blues’ that became apparent as large portions of the population were relocated to spacey plots in the New towns outside London… “where was the raucous cheer, the colors and bright lamps of Ridley road market? Where were the shopping-laden trams swaying along Mare Street? What had happened to the coal man, the knife-grinder, french-onion seller and rag and bone

Milton Keynes from above

Why Build Community? 37


man?” (Glancey, 2006, Guardian). These ‘blues’ were the direct result of feelings of isolation and alienation born from the strange new sprawling surroundings many found themselves helplessly transplanted into; Milton Keynes was 20% parkland, a stark contrast to London’s bustling density (Glancey, 2006, Guardian). A mix of uses is vital to ensure the life and diversity of place and when the two are separated the result is often a sterile and mono-tone environment, often with an absence of community due to the alienating plots lived in surrounded by a constrained mix of individuals who are largely cut off from each-other due to large proximity between living units.

disproportionately as car crime, street robberies and burglary decreased” (Levitt,2010,126). Built in the 1960’s designers assumed the communal spaces for the entirely socially rented flats would be embraced, however with the rises in unemployment in the 1970’s and overestimations in the number of socially renting tenants expected to be employed, occupants soon turned the spaces into ghettos with the abundant amounts of free time on their hands and the place became known as a ‘sink estate’. With occupation too dense, space too communally owned and flats built to a minimum size and with

The New Towns failed to provide a decent stage on which to play out their ethos of social equality due to their single use, suburban characters; however the social ethos of the towns should be commended. The ideal to mix a number of different social classes together is popular today as studies have proven the effectiveness of such an aim in reducing incidences of crime and improving social cohesion, with residents more likely to have trust in their neighbors and to spend time in communal spaces if they feel safer. Separating income brackets breed feelings of discontent and animosity between neighbors as seen in the example of Holly Street Estate in London; a large publicly funded post war social housing scheme where crime was exported to the surrounding areas, significantly reducing their value; “Once demolished the values of surrounding property shot up as

Holly Street Estate, London

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Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?


atmospheres at an all-time low due to mono-culture all facing the same dire employment prospects, the bold idealism of ‘Corbusier’ theory never took hold. Proven in studies conducted in Glasgow, a singular social mix in a residential setting has been founded to have just as detrimental an affect as monofunctional zoning does if the aim is to create strong, cohesive communities. Mixed tenure rental/ owner ownership results in fewer instances of all types of crime except burglary and theft, with wholly social renting communities showing massively increased levels of crime (GoWell, 2001). It is philosophized that in socially mixed communities lesser concentrations of poverty ensure higher quality surroundings are upheld through greater informal social control exhorted by the more affluent segments of the residential population with more time on their hands, as well as aesthetic appearance of dwellings being improved by these affluent residents having more money to spare. Improved safety, aesthetic diversity and upheld visual quality of a place are all factors that entice residents to spend time in communal spaces where they can build trusting and cooperative relationships with one-another. Imagining people generally find others they don’t usually associate with quite interesting and considering the natural human desire to learn and experience new things; a good mix of occupants within a block ensures this appetite for variety is quenched and augments vivacious backdrops that stimulate community.

Social Mixes The positive effects of social mixing have obviously been taken on board by the Scottish government who have outlined a number of aims in recent Life-Time Home policy to ensure the proliferation of mixed tenure (www.cih.org). They stated in 2011 “We will adopt a tenure neutral approach, seeking sustainable choices for all rather than encouraging one particular tenure, and promoting mixed tenure communities” (www.cih.org). Furthermore, 35% of projects funded by the ‘Innovation and Investment fund’ are mixed tenure developments. Whilst government interest in a theory doesn’t always guarantee its integrity, with government supported 1970’s high rise policy as an example of flawed strategy, other arguments present statistical and analytical backing that socially mixed and use mixed places increase integration between traditional and multi-cultural backgrounds and those from different economic backgrounds as well. The future equality of our society’s needs to be invested in to ensure racial and cultural mixes are presented with the opportunities to form communities between each-other, which is a step forward in building a more cohesive British society by acclimatizing populations to difference in their living environments. More cohesive societies may result and more stable communities formulated in the process, helping to build more cohesive societies.

The public realm should be designed to support the needs of a number of differet users visiting the mixed use buildings.

Why Build Community? 39


Formation of community – then building The points discussed previously concentrate on the physical ingredients of successful communities – density and mixed demographic living, whereas now theoretical mechanisms that create community as opposed to design ‘ingredients’ will be discussed. Community cooperation is a theory that involves users of a design from the conception of architectural project thereby facilitating them as the orchestrators and drivers of the process. It is imagined that this leads them to feel more pride, passion and respect for the final product, with greater sense of belonging and ownership of the place they have helped to create, increasing civic cohesion. Allsopp (1974, 41) writes, “deep at the root of all problems of providing homes for people is the lack of concern among architects for people as they are and as they want to be”. Here Allsopp conveys the notion that non user involvement and design outsourcing to architects less engaged with the project results in the product likely being less user friendly, causing users to have less respect and interest in the place, damaging the possibility of community growth. Walters (author of Designing Communities), believes that “people should be empowered to design their own cities ‘from the bottom up’ and that communities in their natural state function best” (Walters, 2007, 66). He suggests here that ‘communities’ cannot be artificially constructed; however home-grown

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Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?

cooperative housing schemes suggest otherwise. One of the key aims of cooperative living is to formulate a sense of community through the organization and build of group funded and designed housing, generating bonds from the outset that ensure living in the development mirrors the nature of living with family, who mutually care and support one-another. There are many living examples of cooperative housing in Britain today and they rightly sit in top spot when it comes to examining successful strategies to formulate better and more cohesive societies in a world where the ASBO is becoming more commonplace than a neighborly cup of tea.(Good) There are also many case studies evidencing the success of utilizing community spirit in the case of failing communities. The Blackroad terraces in Macclesfield, facing demolition in 1971 had been

B l a c k r o a d Te r r a c e s , M a c c l e s f i e l d , b e f o r e t h e demolition order was issued


deemed irreparable by the council. Rod Hackney, an architect who’d purchased one of the terraces, felt differently and challenged the costing, proving that for a third of the cost of demolition and redevelopment, the houses could be restored, leaving residents and sense of place intact (Walters, 2007, 73). Under the watchful eye of Hackney, owners of the terraces, who were mostly unemployed, were encouraged together to object to the council’s decisions, which they did and who managed to overturn the decision to demolish. They then went on to obtain the necessary mortgages and grants to improve their properties. Cooperatively they upgraded their properties with “friends, relatives and neighbors, helping out the elderly unable to do the work and designing each house to meet individual requirements and to keep within budgets the households could afford” (Walters, 2007, 73). By the end of the process, the initial largely unemployed group had learned valuable skills in the process of upgrading, which made them more employable. So the results were not only a housing value rise, the project facilitated social regeneration that increased the value of the residents living there. Using the community as a tool to find solutions to social and economic adversities is used frequently nowadays in the regeneration of sick neighborhoods. “Trust Noord”, Amsterdam are an organization with the ethos to facilitate activities that bond communities in order to help them improve their lives through encouraging entrepreneurship that influences and

changes policy. They use a tool branded as ‘Breeding Streets’ where local people come together and initiate projects around specific themes; music, theatre and fashion. These workshops bring people from all corners of the Amsterdam together who face the same problems, to discuss solutions and philosophize theories for regeneration. Creating these transitory communities stimulates new ideas that can be put into practice by the strongly bonded and resilient groups who have the strength and determination to see their ideas worked out in practice. From these case studies, it becomes apparent that community can be grown by adopting measures that involve a user group in the design stages of a project. Also solidified is the argument in favour of communities, with the case studies discussed evidencing how strongly bonded groups can achieve positive outcomes that the individual alone cannot. Tactical interventions that build community Tactical urbanism evolved largely in response to the deficit of money in the recession to spend on improving the public realm. Described by Lydon (2012,1), tactical urbanism consists of “urban interventions of a sort – quick, often temporary, cheap projects that aim to make a small part of a city more livable or enjoyable”. Often the focus is on improving dis-used or under utilized space, for example the “Play Streets” project in New York, a historic example of tactical urbanism,

Why Build Community? 41


collated public backing to close off a street to traffic, to use as a communal and safe play space. Whilst an aim not necessarily to improve community cohesion, often it is a by-product of people sharing aspirations and spending time together to achieve a common aim. Lydon recognizes the project fosters “the development of social capital between citizens and the building of organizational capacity between public/ private institutions, non profit NGO’S and their constituents” (Lydon, 2012,1). It is clear the power such small scale projects have on the formation of bonds between different groups of individuals who may live in different parts of the city, whom never may have met each-other otherwise. Examining these projects outlines how it isn’t simply design outcomes that informs the formation of community. It proves tactically constructing a goal which many people have the desire to achieve can work to bring people together and this act in itself brings people together, forging the new friendships and alliances among individuals that contributes to the growth of community.

Tra n s fo r m i n g a w a s t e d g a p s i t e i n Wo o d l a n d s has increased community bonds in the area

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Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?


Designed elements – how space can be social, facilitating the formation of friendships and leading to community Instead of examining the impact social strategies can have on the formation of community, how the physical environment can be manipulated to bind groups together will now be analyzed. The provision and careful design of communal spaces such as public squares, gardens and plazas and smaller scale design measures such as gardens, common rooms, shared kitchens and lounges, laundry rooms, roof terraces, balconies and allotments can encourage neighborly interaction and have a great impact on the community cohesion in a place.

active uses onto the street ; rather than blank facades at street level, making places feel safer and livelier� (Scottish Executive, 2001). Attractive and buoyant space may evoke pride and ownership in its daily users who may begin to feel a sense of ownership over their environments as a result. The fact this ownership is shared with other users may evoke feelings of existing within a community with these people, adding to sense of belonging and ease in their environment.

While the focus so far has been on the broader and more organizational aspects of cities and residential settings, cohesive multi-generational communities will not be generated in the backdrop of dense, mixed functional landscapes unless the environment responds to and is shaped by a direct response to human needs and behavior, specifically the human needs; seeing, hearing and meeting (Gehl, 2010, 148). Manipulating street scape to encourage meeting and greeting between its users, by changing proximity between buildings and the layout and composition of the spaces in between greatly impacts on the likelihood of interactions occurring. The Scottish Executive advocates buildings designed with street scape in mind, having “windows, doors or

Brasilia - Not scaled to suit the needs of a human user

Why Build Community? 43


Pedestrianism of space. Adding seating variety for strangers, friends and lovers to interact comfortably using. Level changes for more private interactions. Shaded and exposed spaces. Presence of nature and communal gardens. Interactive ‘active’ ground floor facades. Visual relationships b e t w e e n h o u s i n g a n d p u b l i c s p a c e i n c re a s i n g s a fe t y. M i xe d u s e e n c o u ra g e s t h e u s e o f t h e ‘zone’ throughout the day ensuring it is always busy and alive contributing to attractiveness.

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Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?


Human scale The overall scale of an environment in relation to the human body can make the difference between an individual feeling nervous and lost in a place or at ease. Gehl, (2010;98) advocates that “instead of a planning process that prioritizes buildings, then space and (perhaps) a little life, the human dimension should be the primary driver of design”. Too commonly the spaces created around buildings are considered last in the design process, often having a negative impact on the vibrancy of city life. It could be argued that it has been the influence of ‘modernism’ that has created spaces that look good from an aerial view but fail to address the social and visual needs of a pedestrian walking through the space between the built forms. Buildings designed with vast squares separating them, like the space in the Brasilia photo, with buildings around them that rise so high that the neck has to arch awkwardly to observe, with inactive ground floor facades and ‘few interactive functions at ground level, alienate the pedestrian’(Gehl, 2010;98). Buildings that don’t interact at street level with the pedestrian or have a relationship with the space at ground level surrounding them, possibly evoke security concerns in the mind of the pedestrian due to the indefensible space (Jacobs,1961) created. The absence of a watchful eye may discourage people from both using and stopping to interact with other users in front of the building due to concerns over safety which is an outcome that fails to reinforce the neighborliness in a place that fortifies community.

Tightly packed medieval cities and towns illicit a number of experiences and feelings that contrast greatly with those evoked in inhumanly scaled environments. Imagining the typical medieval square it is not hard to identify characteristics that result in it teeming with activity and life; not an identical façade can be spotted and sometimes façades are even hidden by the tradesmen and market stall owners attached like limpets to corners, alcoves and nooks and crannies of the narrow street and intimate square, who are profiting greatly from the considerable footfall. It is the presence of such aesthetic variety that causes footsteps to echo in these Aladdin’s caves of imagination and vibrancy where people enjoy stopping to reflect and relish opportunities to engage in informal chit chat with their neighbors, increasing the likelihood of interrelations that cultivate community. Intimacy and social distances Creating intimate spaces that facilitate private and pleasant interactions are important. Distances between buildings must be small enough to be-able to look across a crowd and recognise a friend or acquaintance. If the space is too large, the opportunity of bumping into a friend and the augmentation of a neighborly relationship will be unlikely. At 500m, it is impossible to recognise some one; however, at 100m, distinctive features of a person comes into focus, and so squares smaller than 100m in diameter are preferable for encouraging interaction.

Why Build Community? 45


Distances of social space

Person - person recognition and interaction distances

Friend and family benches

‘Lover seating’

Level changes adjacent to walkways and routes for unobstructed socialising

Seating that encourages strangers to strike up conversation

Provision of appropriate seating layout in accordance with social distance principles

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Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?


Conversational exchange distances

Entry ways and frontages Entry ways have large potential to encourage or discourage dialogue. If the entryway is large and inviting and possessing steps to sit and wait on, with design elements that protect the user or exploit the weather, people will be encouraged to mill around and are likely to form visual and conversational relationships with other users entering a building or waiting in a space. Benches or landscaping around the entryway, protected by an entrance canopy will

Distance between flat entrances can be too intimate or just right

also encourage people to wait in the public space, encouraging the meeting and greeting of users who frequent the same environment and boosting community feel of a place. Acknowledging the importance of pathways and their appropriate design

Opportunities to increase social interaction by paying reference to design distances

Historically, cities grew around the places where traders set up stalls to sell their wares (Gehl, 2010, 198). Between these trading spots grew pathways. These pathways ensured the footfall supplied the traders with customers. Ensuring clear pathways is just as important today. Dead ends limit footfall in that

Why Build Community? 47


zone, decreasing use and animation of place, lessening the likelihood of the interactions that generate community. The importance of seating William H. Whyte, urbanist, journalist and people watcher believes the popularity of urban spaces can be attributed to the simplest of determinants; having attractive places on which to sit. (Street Life Spaces, Youtube, William H Whyte). From his discovery that people watching is one of the most popular urban space activities the conclusion can be derived that providing appropriate platforms to facilitate this activity is one of the most important aspects attributed to filling space and giving it life. Comfortable and attractive street furniture is essential to facilitate people watching and talking. He suggests the appropriate amount of space is “one linear foot of seating space for every thirty square foot of open space.� Seating must also take into account accessibility and social distances if it is to be maximally optimized in facilitating interaction between both strangers and friends. A wide range of distances between seating should be designed into the environment. Taking into account the comfortable 1.2-3.7 metre social distance between acquaintances, some seating provision should exist with this dimension. Other benches should be positioned closer together, within 1.2m of each other to facilitate interaction between friends and families. As great an effort as possible should also be made to

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Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?

utilise opportunities to create seating spaces out of objects not purposely designed to do this which allows as much urban space as possible to be utilized for socializing and public interaction. Noise and climate control Studies comparing the activity on a street in Copenhagen with an average noise level of 63db and in a Square in Venice with an average noise level of 72db, found a correlation between increased activity and lower noise level. Minimizing car priority in public space will reduce noise levels whilst at the same time freeing up the large areas of space that cars absorb, increasing attractiveness and peacefulness of the space and making interaction within it easier. All these determinants contribute to the social capacity of a place which helps to nourish community.


The sound from traffic busy streets roads limit opportunities for interaction by making conversation difficult and by dividing public space.

Why Build Community? 49


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Part 2 Multi - Generational Habitats Design Notes ; Design to house every need

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Design that Facilitates Multi-Generational Living Multi-Generational Living Requirements So why build multi-generational places and what are their benefits? Firstly, they respond to a changing economic society where both the government and individual cannot afford to pay for the increasing costs of elderly and child care. Costs are so great that individuals are beginning to turn to the family, friend and neighbor to provide unpaid duties of care (Kneal, 2012, 38) instead. With loneliness increasing too, having a broad age range of people around to chat to throughout the day becomes important. Only one age group present who possess similar work life pattern, will limit interaction opportunities, however a mix of ages will make it likely that someone will always be

around to talk to; be they retired dog walkers or lazy students! Increases in social interaction correspond to the alleviation of loneliness and decreased blood pressure and depression (http://www.scie.org.uk/ publications/ataglance/ataglance60.asp); making a multi-aged backdrop an important requirement of a residential setting. Design that caters for a diversity of age needs also allows a family to stay put in one location for a longer time, resulting in strengthened bonds with their neighbors and greater feelings of belonging in their community. Housing that caters for a diverse range of aged needs also ensures the inclusion of all demographics; improving the social diversity of place, and giving older people the dignified choice to stay at home in old age.

Middle aged woman from ‘the hot pot brigade’ gives soup to an elderly neighbour

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Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?


Hostile and unfriendly places lacking in sense of community will probably fail to attract a multigenerational group. In retirement people often relocate to more rural settings in search of that idyllic village sense of ‘friendly community’, which they suddenly have more time on their hands to participate in. Parents too are likely to move to places with a sense of community that provides a supportive framework for the upbringing of their children. It could be argued that combined multi-generational living and the growth of community make each other happen within a mutually supportive relationship. Mixed aged living also helps to create more accepting, cohesive and safe societies where younger

people grow up alongside their elders and possess more respect for them after witnessing first hand their likely wealths of knowledge, skills and contribution the demographic can offer. Evident recently in the London Riots was a resentment towards the older demographic, which Kneal (2012,40) perceives to be the outcome of the feeling that older people who ‘house blocked’ and ‘stayed put for longer’ in under-occupied homes were responsible for the

Are soap opera and rapper role models really ideal citizens for children to admire?

mortgage crisis. Nurturing a sense of respect between generations in mixed residential environments can only have positive outcomes and allay these feelings. Child rearing in multi-generational settings also has its advantages. As recently identified by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (2007, 19), parents feel that their children lack suitable role models, with one women identifying that the only people her son idealizes is rappers from the television. Multigenerational environments offer a greater diversity of wizened characters than homogenous ones therefore alleviating the shortage of suitable role models for young children. A child’s social skills are also likely to be improved if a child grows up in an environment

The presence of mixed building functions increase d i v e r s i t y, u s e o f p u b l i c s p a c e a n d s a f e t y o f p l a c e

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Family moving as home becomes to small to suit their needs

Adding parasites to increase number of bedrooms in existing residential fabric could make the home more suitable for fluctuating family sizes, improving its multi-generational capacity

where they are likely to have regular contact with a number of differently aged individuals. So what are the design requirements of a multigenerational group? Firstly, the environment must have the capacity and the accessibility to support a number of ages, with a large provision of mixed age facilities that encourages social mixing. Ensuring that the environment and built form can be used by everyone is also paramount. Accessibility and facilities for all will be the first aspects discussed followed by specific housing requirements. Not responding to age changing demographic need ‘Peter Pan housing’ is one of the frequent terms used today to describe British housing stock, which fails to

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Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?

Housing form is designed very specifically for its user and has very little capacity to change in changing user circumstances


pay any reference to the idea of aging, being extremely inflexible in its design. Inflexible housing design is a multi-generational road block. It means that when a family’s needs change; with tight space constrictions, lack of slack space and rigidity, it fails to accommodate family growth or dissolution. Furthermore, housing pays almost no reference to the possibility of dementia or extra care needs. What innovations ensure both existing housing and future housing becomes ‘age proof’, ‘family proof’ and ‘change proof’? With 800,000 dementia sufferers in the UK today (JRF, 2012, 2), it is also necessary that housing assumes the ability to fulfil the needs associated with the onset of the disease. Often in the latter, more troublesome stages of the disease, it is no longer convenient or practical for the person to continue sleeping in the same room as their partner, in which case the provision of a spare bedroom with exterior access for a carer is necessary. Tight space schedules and lack of slack space in contemporary modern homes means this is impossible, and the result is generally ‘disastrous’ institutionalization. Whilst some may argue that someone with advanced dementia fails to offer any positive value or contribution to a multi-generational group, it is both their right to remain in their community and their families’ right to be in a position to support

them should they choose to remain within their own homes. Therefore it is necessary to consider the parameters of design that enable dementia in situ aging. As the needs of the sufferer are extremely complex, part 2 will, along with discussion of the other key points introduced, will try to fully outline and argue the healing, enabling and living frameworks a residential or public environment must possess in response to dementia needs. Design remedies for the needs of dementia are also cures for other ailments a multi-generational population may possess, further validating housing design to include a response to dementia needs.

Possible solution to elderly care needs; Adding Extensions to family homes that grandma can stay in

In the scenario of Dementia; Adding Wards to Roofs to prevent the onset of incapacity having to result in a move

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Accessibility

In the scenario of reduced physical incapacity; Adding ground floor bathing facilities to existing housing into a provision of ‘slack’ space

In the scenario of parental care needs; The ability to merge flats together

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Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?

A multi-generational community will not blossom if the environment surrounding it fails to enable its multi-aged users to carry out daily rituals. Inevitably a multi-aged group will have a variety of needs; from a mother with a pram, to an older person with hearing difficulties to someone in the advanced stages of lewy body dementia who finds it almost impossible to carry out the hobbies they once enjoyed. Importantly, by 2020, close to half of the adult population of the UK will be over 50 years old (Burton, 2006, 5), meaning the environment will have to pay increasing reference to the specific needs of this swelling demographic. Paying attention to these needs won’t only benefit the aged demographic but also a wide range of people with similar mobility and sensory disabilities. Adults with diseases such as cancer or MS, conditions increasingly prevalent in middle age, along with older age related conditions such as dementia and reduced mobility, are disabilities which also need to be addressed if design aims to facilitate multigenerations. Burton points out that it is important to change the perception of disability to acknowledge that it is only the environment that is ‘disabling’ and that it should be embraced as a tool employed to ‘enable’ as opposed to ‘disable’ (Burton, 2006, 26). In this respect the environment should be designed to invite the use of those with ‘disabilities’, stimulating and improving lives opposed to constraining them. The difference between the presence of an enabling


Possible conditions those in a multi generational community may face that effect ease of use of place

Multi-Generational Habitats 57


environment and the absence of one can make the difference between an older person being able to visit the shops and spend time outdoors or being housebound for example and ‘feeling trapped in their own home’ (Burton, 2007, 31), which over a million older people in the UK admitted to in 2006. Design measures and considerations which ‘enable’ those with both physical, sensory and cognitive problems will be discussed and illustrated in more detail later in this chapter.

2) By decreasing the prominence of the car by introducing traffic calming measures, to both prevent danger to those with physical, sensory or mental impairments from traffic hazards, as well as improving the acoustic environment for those with hearing problems

First and foremost, accessible places are safe places. An unsafe environment will not encourage a diverse population, with more vulnerable age groups (older people and families with young children) probably choosing to avoid living in unsafe places. A number of measures can be taken in this respect to improve the safety of a place 1) By creating street scapes that are overlooked, with good visual contact between the street and surrounding housing or facilities, to ensure continued observation of the street increases safety as a result through ‘neighborhood watch’.

Roads break-up spaces, leaving little room for socialising in the street

3) Increasing the mix of buildings ensuring street use throughout the day and not only at certain times, will increase safety due to more continuous occupation and observation of events that occur in the space. Without guarantees in the mind of for example, an 85 year old, relatively frail older lady, that the area surrounding her housing will permit her to safely access the corner shop through a crime free and across a hazard free street, that older person may question remaining living in her local area in vulnerability and instead prefer to move to institutionalized housing. This move and others like it restricts the growth of a multi-generational character.

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Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?


Making the environment more navigational friendly for those with Dementia

The Provision of Seating Access to Natural Surroundings Distinguishable Building Memorable Features Functions Distinguishable Objects Defineable Centres Clear Routes in the Centres of Spaces

Safety of an environment is a general principal that ensures an environment is accessible to all, however there are many specific accessibility requirements that apply to certain groups with impairments. Dementia is one of these impairments.

Dementia friendly space

There are many conditions common to both dementia as well as those with age related problems; such as memory loss or reduced mobility, and so by designing the environment to fulfil all the accessibility needs of a dementia sufferer, you will also fit the environment to those who may be less mobile and less sensory able in old age. The solutions to the accessibility needs of those with dementia are articulated in these drawings.

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Housing A Life-time Home Whilst the more vulnerable portions of diversely aged populations benefit the most from living in a multi-aged setting, with increased collective safety and greater likelihood of informal cooperative care bonds between neighbors, it offers a plethora of social advantages to other demographics as well. Fundamentally however, these advantages will not be enjoyed without suitable housing capacity to cater for the varied needs of different ages. Residential backdrops have to cater for the varied requirements an aging family may have instead of one specific set of needs. Categorizing needs results in the creation of housing that often becomes unsuitable as needs change; for example when children become teenagers desiring more privacy and space the solution is often a move to a home with more living space or bigger bedrooms. This constant cycle of residential flux creates communities where new faces are the norm and where people are unlikely to stick around long enough to meet their neighbors and invest in neighborly relationships, stifling the growth of stable and strong communities. The life-time home model presented ensures a diverse demographic can live together as it can be adapted to suit the wide range of needs occurring as one ages. Circumstances such as the extremities of old age are catered for in the model which ensures

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Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?

resident comfort and convenience in the advance of any physical or mental extremity. The model also responds to changing family size or fluctuating economic circumstances of its inhabitants. A previous investigation led to the culmination of research which informed the design of the flexible concept model illustrated opposite, which caters for the ever changing needs of a family, a couple or individual. The key to its success as a multigenerational habitat is its capacity to expand or contract in line with fluctuating needs for more space or less space. Newly added to this model to boost its effectiveness in catering for all aged extremities is design that responds to the new needs that may arise the result of aging. The life-time home has been altered to sit in a context of close proximity to a provision of communal space that includes a care resource, which the home can be attached or detached from according to need.


The upper flat is occupied by 2 adults. They decide to have children but are quite happy in their b l o c k , e m b e d d e d n i c e l y i n t h e i r c o m m u n i t y, b u t n e e d m o r e s p a c e a n d f u r t h e r b e d r o o m s f o r t h e i r new children. They don’t particularly want to leave their neighbourhood now that they’ve made strong friendships with their neighbours and are in close proximity to the resources the dense city fabric has to o f f e r. F u r t h e r m o r e , t h e s o c i a l o p p o r t u n i t i e s a r e b e t t e r h e r e t h a n i n t h e l o w d e n s i t y s u b u r b s w h e r e m o s t o f the provision of new family housing is built, and where they can walk everywhere they need to go. The housing accommodates this by allowing them to absorb the flat below by removing the staircase enclosure around the s t a i r s t h a t j o i n s t h e f l a t s t o e a c h o t h e r. I n s i m p l e t e r m s , t h e f l a t c a n b e c o m e a f a m i l y h o m e q u i t e h a s s l e f r e e .

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The life-span of the flats with access to care facility

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Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?


However, what dilutes the integrity of the model is its neglect in response to aged needs. In older age, two scenarios commonly occur; the first being no change except retirement, without any onset of incapacity and all capabilities retained. In this perhaps rare scenario the life-time home model supports the individual’s needs and even possesses the ability to improve its occupants situation with capability to obtain the occupier(s) extra income in the scenario where the oversized home is split it up by enclosing the stairwell and one half being rented out to a student or older person who requires access to the care facility (or doesn’t in the case of the student).. A second scenario in older age could be an increased loneliness or sense of isolation in an older person with the loss of a partner, leading to growing safety concerns and dislike of living alone. Currently, the solution to such issues is a move into sheltered housing or an institution; however what if the individual wishes to experience all the advantages of sheltered housing or an institution without moving as they want to remain in their local community and retain self-autonomy?

How the model could be adapted to fulfil care need. The bottom floor part of the home opens up to a communal living area with care facility

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Sheltered housing model integrated into high density urban fabric The housing model explained opposite set in the context of a high density urban residential block possesses the potential to be opened up to a communal care/ sheltered housing facility area which combines communal block facilities and care giver resources. The result is the sufferer being able to remain in homely surroundings whilst obtaining any spectrum of care they should require be it infrequent or intensive, whilst living alongside others going through similar experiences. If care needs are more intensive in older age such as in the circumstance of dementia the standard government funded care package only offers a maximum of four care visits a day; not enough in some scenarios, meaning the only solution is institutionalization if the family can’t support the individual themselves or a afford a live in carer (Barrett,2013). With institutionalization generally undesired this new model allows the individual with any aged need to age in place regardless of their circumstance and avoid a move. The model works on the premise that the floors adjoining the housing will be mostly occupied by older people with care needs. If just a few of the flats on the floor are occupied by those with intensive care needs and the rest owned by young families and blocked off to the area, the employment of a carer to work in the provided care base still remains financially justified

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Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?

and suits the preferences of the sufferer as they can obtain round the clock care should they need it whilst remaining at home and living with their family who have a level of privacy from the ‘extra care flat’ due to the dividing stairwell.. The model also works well socially in terms of integrating all block users with older people who are at greater risk of experiencing isolation or loneliness. A provision of communal facilities included in the area ensures its usefulness as a space in the event where no individuals with aged needs occupy the flats. The shared facilities prevent the potential segregation of the vulnerable group whilst offering others in the block the opportunity to integrate. Possible communal facilities to be placed alongside the care base may be music or chore based; a laundry room, kitchen or perhaps a community room that could be used for community choir rehearsals etc. Those with dementia are likely to remember ingrained skills such as washing and baking and so these kinds of activities should inform the function of the shared resources. A well noise insulated music practice room for the block may be a good facility, with a lot of tension arising between neighbors who live in close proximity to each other resulting from noisy instrument practice. Barrett also confirms that music is extremely therapeutic for those with dementia, as it can often ‘unlock’ memories (Barrett, 2013); so the sheltered housing users and the rest of the block sharing a music based resource could decrease neighborly conflict whilst mixing user groups and alleviating the negative consequences of dementia at the same time.


CARE FACILITY FAMILY ONE FAMILY 2 FLEXIBLE WALLS TWO CHILDREN BORN AND FLAT BELOW ABSORBED

Flat with access to care facility is rented out to users from existing inappropriate housing fabric that does not suit the social or care needs of that elderly person

CARE FACILITY FAMILY ONE FAMILY 2 FLEXIBLE WALLS

STAIR BLOCKED 2 APARTMENTS ROOM FOR CHILDREN Two 2 bed apartments, ONE WITH ACCESS TO CARE FACILITY,

ground floor one rented out RENTED to individual with care needs

TWO CHILDREN BORN AND FLAT BELOW ABSORBED

+

CHILDR

The upper flat exists independently of the care flat below which is attached to the communal part of the block and s h e l t e r e d housing facility and is rented out to someone who has moved from a home perhaps too large for them to live i n . H o w e v e r, w h e n t h e flat becomes free, the opportunity presents itself for the family to buy the free part o f t h e i r b l o c k b e l o w. Instead of the users having to wait for the flat to become free though, initial expansion can be made onto a deck to the north of their flat, to quench initial need for more space.

CHILDREN LIVE IN NEWLY ACQUIRED GROUND FLOOR

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CHILDREN LIVE IN NEWLY ACQUIRED GROUND FLOOR APARTMENT CHILDREN LIVE IN NEWLY ACQUIRED GROUND FLOOR APARTMENT

-

W

WIT

How the model works without care need or desire to live more communally

CARE FACILITY FAMILY ONE FAMILY 2 FLEXIBLE WALLS

STAIR UNBLOCKED 1 APARTMENT STAIR UNBLOCKED Flat below absorbed to ROOM FOR CHILDREN 1 APARTMENT create aFOR larger family ACCESS TO CARE FACILITY CLOSEDhome OFF ROOM CHILDREN

ACCESS CARE FACILITY CLOSED OFF TWO CHILDREN BORN AND FLATTO BELOW ABSORBED

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Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?

House below has been absorbed by the family above and is no longer part of the sheltered housing with the addition of wall.

CHILDREN LIVE IN NEWLY ACQUIRED GROUND FLOOR AP


New build solution to individuals with sheltered housing needs

CARE FACILITY FAMILY ONE FAMILY 2 FLEXIBLE WALLS

Children move out and lower level is used by aged parent with care need. Carer canREMAINS gain access to the home STAIR fromSTAIR the communal REMAINS level without UNBLOCKED disturbing the privacy of the UNBLOCKED 1 INCAPACITATED ADULT MOVES other household occupant 1 INCAPACITATED ADULT MOVES DOWNSTAIRS (partner or spouse)

ACCESSDOWNSTAIRS TO CARE FACILITY ACCESS TOABSORBED CARE FACILITY RE-OPENED TWO CHILDREN BORN AND FLAT BELOW RE-OPENED

FLAT WITH ACCESS TO FLAT WITH ACCESS TO CARE FACILITY CARE FACILITY

WITH THE ONSET OF INCAPACITY, WIFE MOVES TO BOTTOM WITH THE ONSET OF INCAPACITY, WIFE MOVES TO BOTTOM

If the children move out and the now aged parents need access to care, the bottom floor can be re opened to the sheltered housing. In a different situation, the adults living in the under-occuppied flat can rent out their spare space to someone who may possess a care need and be living in inappropriate housing, gaining them income in retirement. The staircase between the two levels can be blocked off and the house re-opened to the ground floor sheltered housing f a c i l i t y.

CHILDREN LIVE IN NEWLY ACQUIRED GROUND FLO

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Institutionalization is generally the un-preferred, costly and under performing housing model for those with care needs; with only 41% of the relatives surveyed reporting that their loved ones enjoyed a good quality of life in these establishments, and 70% of UK adults saying they would be fairly or very scared of going in a care home (www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/news_ article.php?newsID=1498).

are searching for home, for familiarity (possibly for a place from their past).” Maureen Barrett, manager of Tornadee care home, Aberdeenshire Retrofitting care environments to suit an individual’s past with familiar objects, activities and decorations is carried out today in many care homes. The majority of sufferers retain aspects of long term memory and when objects, activities and interiors trigger this it helps them to tune into their past and help them to remember people, places and times. The illustrated model takes this concept one therapeutic step further. It allows the sufferer to remain in a place from their past in acquainted with and no doubt more comforting surroundings, causing less confusion and stress than they would experience having to move to an institution.

Furthermore, it often results in discomfort of the sufferer with Barrett outlining that often a move to an institution can be quite harrowing and dis orientating for the individual due to unfamiliar surroundings. Additionally, sometimes the move can result in rapid decreases in self-autonomy and consequential faster health decline. It is categorically therapeutic for the sufferer to remain in their home environment in the onset of dementia and especially in the event of psychosis, where they believe they live in a time from their past, dropping in and out of consciousness from the real world from a construct in their long-term memory.

The life-time housing model illustrated allows the sufferer to stay at home when receiving the level of care they need whilst remaining in close proximity to their loved ones and retaining greater self-autonomy near familiar community resources. A husband with his incapacitated wife just seven stories above his

Barrett explains this concept in more detail, 2013; “I know they go back, sometimes to a place where they have children, tea to cook and husbands to look after. Some of the female residents get agitated around five o clock because they think they need to be cooking the tea for their family. Sometimes residents manage to get through all the security, all the key codes and they escape in search of something. People

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A circumstance of dementia. The sufferer thinks they are living in another time,from their memory n o r m a l l y. T h e u n f a m i l i a r i t y o f l i v i n g i n a c a r e h o m e o r institution often frightens them as they don’t understand where they are.

Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?


home opposed to three miles away in an institution means regular contact between them is more possible as well with the relative being in a position to offer greater amounts of care, possibly resulting in lesser government care cost as well as reduced loneliness in the partner living alone. Barrett from CARE UK points out that care homes are beginning to be phased out in general, with a move towards community based care being advocated by the government, adding weight to the argument to explore less traditional ‘care models’ that are integrated into mainstream housing as opposed to continuing to build isolating institutions. The dire interior of a care home. Fire exit signs and fire doors do not create a homely atmosphere.

An older relative can help to care for their loved one in this model more frequently than if the relative lived in a care home.

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Existing Residential Fabric Existing residential fabric fails to cater for the care needs of someone with advanced dementia as it fails to integrate advanced care facilities intrinsically into its design. In advanced dementia at the end of a sufferer’s life, the individual will lose the capacity to carry out many of the activities necessary for survival, such as eating, drinking and cleaning themselves. Furthermore, their behavior due to memory loss may put themselves or others in danger in extreme circumstances and so they need to be constantly supervised. Unless the individual has the financial capacity to pay for a live in carer or family members prepared to devote themselves to round the clock care the sufferer will have no choice but to move into an institution. As already discussed, this is not an ideal situation. So what could be a solution? In terms of the built environment in the city, altering existing interiors / whole floors of housing to include care facilities and

The move to an institution often isn’t taken too well...

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Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?

wards, thereby allowing sufferers to move into a place where they can receive care in close proximity to their existing homes; could prove costly and tricky to negotiate and plan. Furthermore there may be societal objection to such an idea, with the general public still negatively perceiving those with dementia (Barrett, 2013) and preferring unfortunately to live separated from such a demographic. They may disagree with the notion of living next door to a care ward, for reasons of noise, safety and personal taste. However an under utilized space in existing housing which is somewhat separated from the general public is rooftop space. Rooftops in the city are worthy secure places for those with dementia to live as they are likely to possess therapeutic views whilst having the potential to be connected to other rooftops and their care resources. Whilst quite a utopian idea, there may be some potential in the model. In planning such a model, it would be appropriate for the residential facilities to be modular, purchased by the sufferer as and when required and personalized, which could be plugged into the permanent communal facility much like a power switch into an electricity socket when such a move is required. Additionally if there is no demand for the care facility from the residents in the block below this facility could remain as a shared resource with the purpose to enhance community within the residence. Moreover, the space surrounding the care unit and the attached modules could be turned into communal gardens for all to use. Garden space would undoubtedly be popular with families and young people alike and would be a key to community integration in terms of mingling those in the extra care facility with the wider community, ensuring the dementia sufferers have continued contact with and inclusion within the wider community.


An individual who comes to require extra care due to dementia can move into one of the rooftop care facilities that are essentially small scale wards built onto the rooftops of their existing housing. These care facilities form a network of facilities connected by bridges in the sky so that not all rooftop ‘bases’ require the possession of all the necessary facilities and amenities essential for the well-being of the sufferers living in the units. The aesthetic of the facility will adopt an appearance much like that of Didden Village in Amsterdam, with brightly coloured facades so that each of the ‘bases’ is recognisable to its occupant should they be returning to their home after a day out exploring the network on the colourful bridges.

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Rough layout concept sketch of communal facility

The unit is initially just a communal facility that helps to build sense of community amongst the occupants, however in the scenario of occupants in the block having a n e e d f o r a c a r e f a c i l i t y, p r e f a b r i c a t e d t i m b e r u n i t s c a n b e p l u g g e d i n t o t h e communal kitchen and living block so that it becomes a care ward. Adaptable space is key to housing multi- generational needs.

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Sketch of the communal facility turning to advanced care need ward with the addition of pod bedrooms.

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Retrofitting existing housing to cater for multi-generational needs Another issue is how to retrofit places that haven’t threaded certain demographics into their urban fabric. Retrofitting existing built environments to increase inclusion and cohesion can be done in a number of ways. With regards to housing it may involve the addition of care facilities be they on rooftops, in basements or through the renovation of whole floors to ensure older populations have access to care facilities or the social resources and older person may need in close proximity to their own homes. Other

Adding Modular Care Pods to the empty rooftops of urban housing, good views, safe and secure, communal.

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demographics whose needs are often not catered for in urban housing such as families with young children who would prefer to have a private provision of green space for children to play in need to be catered for more fully. Retrofitting rooftops with green play scapes suitable for both children and adults alike, increase attract ability of urban housing to the family buyer whilst creating places where generations can socialize together, increasing the strength of community and having positive well-being benefits at the same time. Including a provision of suitable facilities that promote a mixing of ages is also important as the sketches below outline. Communal facilities provide social opportunities for older populations who may live alone in housing and experience feelings of isolation and loneliness common in old age.

Communal wash rooms


Sometimes the case.....

The young gathering in the centres, the old gathering on the outskirts and families caught in the middle sprawl neither here nor there

In the suburbs, often facilities can be reached only by car or public transport

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Design Interventions,encouraging socialising and the formation of community in a residential setting

Social Stairwells with enclave places to sit and lobby spaces to personalise. Half open, half closed ‘Stable’ style front doors

Communal recycling areas

Allotments and garden spaces, observable from housing with specified ownership to ensure they are upkept

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Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?

Attractive communal post rooms w/ places to sit

Communal Kitchens and social ‘stable’ front doors

Rooftop gardens


A Child’s Needs Inner city street-scapes and housing without the natural green spaces or play areas that support a child’s rounded development, decrease the attractiveness of urban living to families. Furthermore, inner city residential settings without the presence of children socially suffer as the adult meetings that arise from friendships between children that meet each other in shared play areas don’t occur. Outdoor play is essential to a child’s development as it offers “opportunities to develop friendships and negotiate relationships; opportunities to grapple with the full gamut of emotions including those such as jealousy, boredom, or anger as well as happiness and satisfaction; opportunities to take risks, have adventures and misadventures; to have contact with the natural environment” (Casey, 2007; 6). To encourage families to live in the city who choose to live in the suburbs due to the availability garden space, gap sites could be cleared and the natural foliage that gradually envelopes them left to flourish to make the sites interesting, wild places that can be enjoyed by children and their parents together. Creating uses for gap sites not only provides play space it also improves the streetscape adding to sense of place and helping to augment community. Incorporating play objects and spaces into the street and along passageways that the young and old alike can enjoy together will provide a talking point

that could encourage interaction between users and passers by in the public zone, binding multigenerations together. Playscapes also help the child to “understand themselves as individuals and in relationship to peers and their community” (Casey, 2007;6). Undisputed so far is the importance of community to the child. It is important a child feels like they belong to their community as this increases feelings of ease in their environment, making them more likely to fully express themselves and engage with public realm civic activities. With the increasing prevalence of family breakdown, feelings of belonging to something or somewhere; to a stable community, can provide the reliable backbone of comfort needed in times of change and insecurity. Places for children to play and hang out act almost as invitations from the community saying “you are of value; join in with us and enjoy the delights community has to offer!”

Natural features turned into play objects used to line paths and streets

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Gap sites left to overgrow and be harnessed as natural recreation spaces for the young and old

A gap site that has become a playground

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Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?


Multi-Generational Habitats 79


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Part 3 Dementia Design

Design specifics that alleviate the condition

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Design for Dementia Dementia can result in abnormal social behavior with the likelihood of sufferers requiring care quite high. The way housing is designed must respond to the physical and mental incapacities often apparent and accommodate them in a therapeutic way. New housing accommodation form must enable dementia sufferers to live as full and self autonomous lives as possible despite their likely memory problems. People with dementia are a growing body of individuals within a multi-generational population, with the number of sufferers expected to grow to over 1 million by 2025 (Alzheimers society, Public Awareness of Dementia : What every commissioner needs to know, 5, 2009). As Burton points out “elderly individuals with dementia are amongst the most devalued members of our society, regardless of their lifelong characteristics and contribution and the person with dementia bears the double stigma of age and mental handicap” (www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/ scripts/news_article.php?newsID=1498. Currently, “322,000 of the 800,000 people with dementia in the United Kingdom live in care homes” and only 41% of the relatives surveyed reported their loved ones enjoying a good quality of life in these establishments, with 70% of UK adults saying they would be fairly or very scared of going into a care home (www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/ news_article.php?newsID=1498). The future of

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the care home model as a result lies in jeopardy with popularity of the model flailing. Care facilities integrated in mainstream housing stock are the solution. Ideas mentioned earlier are the ‘rooftop retreat’ and the integrated sheltered housing concept. With the likelihood of approximately five percent of the general population needing to be nursed at some point, a care facility integrated into existing fabric is an intrinsic solution to their continued autonomy and community involvement as the disease progresses. The ‘rooftop retreats’ must include design details that improve the lives of sufferers by lessening their confusion and increasing their self-autonomy. For example normal sizing of corridors and stairs present problems and do little to ensure the sufferer can way fare easily around their new home. The effects of dementia vary sufferer to sufferer. Sometimes a sufferer can remain physically strong yet become completely mentally disabled, whereas others stay cognitively able during the end stages yet are bed-ridden (Timlin, 2010). It is hard to describe all the effects of the disease however when trying to give an overall impression of the condition and its degenerative nature, the disease is sometimes categorised into stages (www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/ scripts/documents_info.php?documentID=133);


Stage 1 •

forget about recent conversations or events

repeat themselves

become slower at grasping new ideas

lose the thread of what is being said

sometimes become confused

show poor judgement, or find it harder to

make decisions •

lose interest in other people or activities

• behaving in ways that may seem unusual, such as going outside in their nightclothes • Experiencing difficulty with perception, and in some cases having hallucinations. Stage 3 •

difficulty in eating and, sometimes, swallowing

• considerable weight loss - although some people eat too much and put on weight • incontinence - losing control of their bladder and sometimes their bowels as well

• develop a readiness to blame others for taking mislaid items

• gradual loss of speech, though they may repeat a few words or cry out from time to time.

• become unwilling to try out new things or adapt to change.

The sufferer may eventually become bed-ridden and so the bedroom must be as pleasant and well-lit as possible in this circumstance. The bedroom must also pay attention to the accessibility needs of a sufferer.

Stage 2 • becoming confused about where they are, or walking off and becoming lost • becoming muddled about time and getting up at night because they are mixing up night and day • putting themselves or others at risk through their forgetfulness - for example, by not lighting the gas on the cooker

What Implications do an increasing number of dementia sufferers have on the design of housing? Design research backs the argument that careful attention to form, aesthetic and detail can alleviate symptoms of dementia and create therapeutic environments. The research has informed the design of the discussed rooftop and integrated sheltered housing concepts discussed previously.

Dementia Design Notes 83


Symptoms of dementia such as decreased visual acuity, problems with memory and physical weakness can all be apparent within the margins of normal aging and so by referencing the following dementia design measures in new residential accommodation, the quality of many other home lives may be positively impacted upon. The Kitchen It is extremely important that the sufferer is encouraged to ‘cook and look after them self should they have the ability or the desire to; promoting selfautonomy in the sufferer’ (Timlin, 2010). However the kitchen must be designed with the idea in mind that a dementia sufferer may sometimes be a hazard to themselves or others. Therefore the resident kitchen has to be observable from a carer space with there being a secondary kitchen where carers can cook for the residents. ‘Triggering the desire to eat and to prepare food can be facilitated by ensuring the kitchen is traditionally arranged with a conventional aesthetic which makes the function of the space obvious; possibly triggering associated feelings of what to do in the space’ (Timlin,2010). Therefore the layout of the work tops and furniture should align with tradition to further trigger memories and realisation of space purpose. ‘The kitchen being ‘at the heart of the home’ is also important as this will often have been the case in prior family homes’ (Timlin, 2010). If the layout of the

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Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?

Kitchen at the heart of the home

kitchen aligns with their long-term memories they are more likely to behave as one would expect in the kitchen; eating and socialising. In a care setting it is important the residents see the food being prepped by carers and can actively take part in the preparation process, as this triggers appetite and promotes greater self-sufficiency. ‘Sufferers often retain the skills to cook if they have cooked in their past and it is a fulfilling and enjoyable activity for them to partake in under supervision’ (Timlin,2010). Facilitating participation in a ‘mock kitchen’ prevents decline in the self-autonomy of a sufferer and provides an enjoyable leisure activity.


The bedroom As the sufferers may spend a lot of time in their rooms it is important the space is as comfortable and aesthetically pleasing as possible. In all circumstances

designing the entrances to bedrooms dissimilarly, entrances and rooms become more definable resulting in easier sufferer wayfaring to their homes’ (Barrett, 2013). Creating landmarks within the home by defining spaces with different colors and by correlating interior aesthetic with the function of an area can help sufferers to remember the purpose of spaces, enabling them remember how to participate in the activity and promoting participation. Defining Boundaries

the bedroom must be fully accessible, have access to or a visual contact with nature and have good views and lighting as well.

Creating adequate boundaries between areas and making the space more like a traditional home, with different rooms for different activities, lessens confusion associated with what activity to perform in the space, encouraging greater participation. ‘Scale must also be domestic to create an intimate environment similar to a home and to not overwhelm the sufferer, with vast, open plan surroundings unlikely to have been the surroundings sufferers will have previously lived in (Timlin 21010).

Aesthetic Appearance If the network of homes (in the roof top model) all have different aesthetics to ensure sufferers can define their own residences, this may improve wayfaring ability and mean they can be given more freedom to explore the rooftop network. With regards to wayfaring within the facility ‘by personalizing or

Personalization of entryways helps the sufferer to remember their own one

Dementia Design Notes 85


Colour used to differentiate between spaces to define boundaries / Colour can also be used to conceal space (such as the service kitchen door)

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Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?


Dementia Design Notes 87


88


Part 4 Conclusions

89


Conclusion It is difficult to summarize and conclude findings from this investigation and to derive which points have greater weight over others in terms of their influence in the production of multi-generational communities. Fundamentally though, it remains clear and obvious that housing stock and the surrounding built environment must acquire new qualities that better fit the diverse range of needs of a multi-generational group. If it fails to adapt, then places in cities will remain somewhat segregated, with ‘young ones’ living in the lively parts of the city, families on the peripheries in dull suburbs with older people dispersed in between, isolated in specialized housing. Housing developers must accept that design can encourage or discourage social mixing in its capacity to support changing needs, as this aptitude determines the longevity of residency and the strength of the social bonds formed as a result. Those building housing must be aware that its form, arrangement and relationship to and within the wider context can affect the assimilation of community and can promote through its form either diverse, lively places with strong community ties or monotonous, cellular, dead places where neighbors care little for one another. Density was highlighted from the outset as an important factor contributing to the growth of communities, with the impact of sub-urban layouts compared to high density environments and the conclusion derived that high density urban encourages greater social contact and

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Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?

H i g h d e n s i t y s e e m s t o w o r k , h o w e v e r, s o m e t i m e s the strongest senses of community are found in low density villages and rural settings.


creates livelier, more diverse places with a greater sense of place than sub-urban sprawl. However, further investigation established that a number of different densities can work in varying circumstances with different groups having different preferences; with potential problems arising from both too high a density and too low a density, with real life examples exemplifying this. Often extremely low density small villages (Chris Stewart, 2013) are very successful in creating sense of community for example. What seems to be important with density is proximity to resources and car dependency. If the environment encourages the constant use of the car, and doesn’t encourage people to spend time outside in the public domain, then it is a big problem that isolates individuals and families from the places and the people around them in a casing of shiny metal and paint work.

Mixed use places are more likely to be more dynamic, busier places with more frequent o p p o r t u n i t i e s t o m e e t o t h e r s i n t h e c o m m u n i t y, with a greater sense of place

This leads onto the second point discussed, mixed use. The conclusion to the importance of this aspect is fairly definitive; mixed use places are better places with more life and character and as a result greater sense of community. If people can walk to nearby resources, this puts them in contact with the individuals around them even if this contact simply consists of a friendly nod. The informal interactions that occur from people being in the same public realm using the same facilities time and time again can lead to greater outcomes in the end than a simple friendly nod; democratically active places, new friendships and the improvement of place and human well-being!

In the suburbs, often facilities are only in reach using a car or vehicular public transport

Conclusion 91


Including particular design interventions undoubtedly encourages sociability in a place and enhances community. Whether or not people have the time or the energy to engage in the intended social interaction that social stairwells and communal faciltiies proliferate is another story completely. Do societies today value community as an important entity? Perhaps future communities will exist only online, with social inadequacies in peoples lives quenched by a Facebook login instead of a quick chat on the stairwell. Maybe community these days is a redundant concept- something that existed only when towns and cities were smaller and safer and the streets more observable? Just as the necessity of community is open to debate, whether or not a multi-generational ethos is an attractive modern prospect is also the case. Perhaps a multi-generational dynamic does the opposite of what has been argued and perhaps a variety of ages prohibits the formulation of community in the sense that the occupants have nothing in common to discuss and see no value in chatting to one another. Perhaps people would prefer to live amongst people their own age and derive support and social engagement from their chosen friendship circles as opposed to people in

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Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?

their neighborhood. Colm Toibin, an author (Guardian, 2013) talks extremely positively about his experience of isolation; “no one ever told me that I would be happy in my life when I modelled myself on a nun who runs her own cloister and is alone in it, not bothered by the chatter of other nuns, or by the demands of reverend mother………..And then there is music when night falls. I can put on whatever I like, follow dark obsessions without worrying about depressing anyone else.” (Klinenberg, Guardian Online, 2012). This reinforces the philosophy that some relish isolation. Moreover, in modern times people may prefer to pay others for a lease of their skills as opposed to enlisting the help of a neighbor to ensure reliability and to eliminate having to execute a sociable persona. Whilst it is possible to design housing and the civic environment with the capacity to house diverse age groups, age prejudices and preferences still exist that limit the demand for multi-generational realms. Would a professional 28 year old in the prime of their life really want to own a flat next to a student? Maybe housing different generations next to one another may amount to more problems than it would solve and actually have a detrimental effect on community in terms of different life patterns clashing with one


room for example, perhaps causing more friction than friendliness?

Different generations living together may not be good idea due to different interests and life patterns

another? And are the models illustrated really fool proof? Could tight housing budgets support the cost of the various communal facilities that offer those in the adjacent sheltered housing socially enhanced lives? Nowadays, with housing treated as a commodity, with people buying and selling quickly never to settle and always to make money, combined with thee developers’ ethos to squeeze out every last ounce of character to maximise profit margins, perhaps the ideal of a happy, co-operative multi-generational community is too utopian an ideal. Another concern is a scenario where the ideal housing complex encourages social activity and pleasantries at every turn, but all the neighbours hate each other and deeply resent the social design of their housing where they are forced to communicate with their neighbors on a daily basis to carry out chores in a shared laundry

However, it cannot be denied that strong communities have their advantages. Only time will really tell if the concept will be advocated. Maybe in better financial times companies and individuals will have more time and money to pursue the concept and its rewards or perhaps with increasing use of social technology every day the notion of supportive places will become extinct and irrelevant? There is no denying the advantages of encouraging bonds between people and ‘community’ in a residential environment or in a wider context. Community can reduce loneliness and cost to the individual or the government with regards to care of the elderly. It also impacts on the morality of the child; if they grow up around a diverse mix of people rather than in isolation they may be less likely to discriminate and possess prejudices in later life. Stronger communities where people enjoy the company of their neighbors so much so that they choose to walk to amenities to bump into each-other, to soak up the lively street atmosphere instead of driving may also have environmental benefits as well as supporting the need for local shops and services that add to sense of place. As Julie Clark; a Glasgow Urbanist admits; “perhaps people don’t seek out community, yet when they notice it, they do value it”. On this basis, arguments for design to support the proliferation of community have

Conclusion 93


been relevant. Although society may be becoming more and more individualistic by the day, having the opportunity to dip into that social pond should the desire ‘to be included’ ever arise is perhaps a necessity of the built environment. This is when the principles of density, mixed use, socially designed space and inclusive housing help make ‘community’ achievable.

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Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?


Conclusion 95


96


Part 5 Allotments in Dennistoun

Integrating isolated groups into the social fabric of the community

97


98


99


Increasing Community Cohesion

If constructed, the allotment facility in the field behind the home will give those in the home access to people from the wider community who they can engage in enriching and meaningful interactions with.

Real Life Tactical Intervention Why Allotments in Dennistoun?

Tending to the allotments and taking in part in activities involving the maintenance of the plants/ facility or simply watching the gardening take place (whilst unsupervised or supervised) will engage the occupants with members of the community during shared participation activities; likely evoking feelings of satisfaction and achievement.

Golfhill care home situated in Dennistoun, Glasgow, although possessing the ethos to integrate with those living on its peripheries and the wider community, fails to do this to the extent it may wish to, both due to the sites heavy enclosure for reasons of security and safety and due to societies flawed perceptions of those living in the home as people with little to contribute to the fabric of humanity. Whilst those living in the care home possess varying degrees of sociability and physical capacity, meaning they inevitably contribute less than they use to, the intrinsic drive and ability is undoubtedly there to want to keep contributing and engaging with society and to live as socially and mentally as enriching lives as possible whilst at the home. From my own personal research, I gathered occupants of care homes have a tendency to cling to staff at the home for more enriching conversations, as those they are living amongst often possess communication problems, be they caused by minor conditions such as poor hearing or extreme symptoms of advanced Alzheimer’s.

100 Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?

Often in institutionalization, sense of worth can be eroded and the sort of activity that takes place in the allotment could minimise these feelings and bolster confidence and decrease sense of isolation. Furthermore, “a growing body of evidence suggests that greater social engagement is associated with significantly lower risks for cognitive decline and dementia in older adults� (Seeman, Journal of Gerontology, 1, 2010), so the social participation value of the allotments adds to the likelihood of residents living longer, healthier lives. Not even touched on yet is the potential of the allotments to provide organic and nutritious food to the surrounding community and to the care home. With 18% of the people in the UK facing food poverty nowadays (Telegraph, June 2013) the resource would be precious to many families in Dennistoun as well as impacting on the improvement of social lives and societal cohesion in the community.


The group, established by myself in July consists of members from the care home, Firpark Court - a new build residential housing development just off Alexandra Parade, the surrounding tenements and the WASPS art facility.

The hope is to build sense of community and introduce these currently segregated individual communities to each-other, with the hope that this will improve all the lives of all involved while adding a meaningful facility to Dennistoun that will boost health and hopefully contribute to community cohesion.

Community Cohesion Project 101


Contacted Council (Sandy Patterson, Allotment OďŹƒcer)

Flyered resi in housin surroundin site Met with George at the proposed site, was showed similar projects he has worked on

Contacted City Property

July

Contacted suggested George Chalmers who has dealt with similar projects

Received response and other contacts

August

Contacted Susan Macdonald, Manager at Golfhill Care Home to propose collaboration; her response extremely enthusiastic, oered her facilities for future group meetings

B

Set up Facebo Page

102 Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities? Contact Landowners and potential

Funding proposals Design proposals

Draw up design proposals


idents ng ng the

Second Meeting

Contacted WASPS art facility next to site and Dennistoun Community centre to ask to email round to their members online leaets and drum up more support for the project

Site visit and proposals made with groups co-operation

First Meeting

September

Do initial costings. Bricks, shed, excavation, soil etc etc

ook

Applied For funding Proposed Workshop on site to think about design

Drawn up site proposals

Meet with council to discuss proposals

Community Cohesion Project 103


Contacted Council (Sandy Patterson, Allotment Officer)

Flyered residents in housing surrounding the site Met with George at the proposed site, showed Following enquiries with thewas Land and Environmental similar projects Services I established that this landheishas classified worked on

Contacted City Property

Group Activity

So far there have been a number of meetings within the care home adjacent to the site and a group of 12 individuals from the area surrounding the care home involved with the project.

as ‘open space’ and therefore protected from development unlike site B which is quite valuable in terms of its potential to be sold for future development.

From the care home, a handful of residents as well July as 3 staff members, including a gardener have joined the group. Everyone on board is extremely enthusiastic about the project and more than willing to contribute to its success. A group site visit is planned to review the appropriateness of the proposals designed by myself for the allotments. A BUPA fund has also been Received applied for in conjunction with Susan response and Macdonald, the other contacts manageress at the care home.

The decision about site BAugust is still pending, however Contacted suggested it is unlikely this land will be offered for use by the George Do initial c Chalmers group by city property. Although this has access Bricks, shed, excava Contacted who has disadvantages users at the care dealt with in terms of disabledSusan Macdonald, similar projects home having to cross the road and mount Manager at a slope to Golfhill Care Home get to the allotments, Susan Macdonald, care home to propose collaboration; her manager is confident that increased distance won’t response extremely be too much of a problem. A enthusiastic, meeting with offeredthe council her facilities for is planned to take place on the 30th August to future groupofmeetings discuss this sites potential with other group members. Currently the group is in talks with the council with Set up Facebook Page regards to procurement of the new site. Procurement looks promising as currently the site is really run down and rarely used and in need of regeneration.

Progress of the Build There are two sites in the pipeline, the original site to East side of the care home is unlikely to be offered up for the allotments by Glasgow City Council due to its development potential as was discovered after I contacted city council.

Contact Landowners and potential collaborations for the project (Golfhill Care Home)

A number of bodies have also been applied to to obtain funding, including the Climate Challenge Fund,

Funding proposals Design proposals workshop

August

July

Draw up design proposals with group members

September

October

Ground work and research Drum up support and publicity Initial discussions w/group

First Meeting

Secure funding

Apply for planning permission

Land contamination checks

104 Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?

November

Decem


Contacted WASPS art facility next to site and Dennistoun Community centre to ask to email round to their members online leaets and drum up more support for the project

Second Meeting

Site visit and proposals made with groups co-operation

September

October

costings. ation, soil etc etc

meber

The 02 Think Big Campaign, Applied ForThe Built Environment funding and Capital Grants Fund and the Community Spaces Lottery Fund,Proposed as well as a BUPA fund thanks to Susan Workshop

Macdonaldon atsite Golfhill to think Care Home, Dennistoun. about design

Drawn up site proposals

Meet with council to discuss proposals

Build????

January

February

March

April

May

Sow ďŹ rst seeds in time for summer growth

Firpark Allotments - Action so far Community Cohesion Project 105


Proposal 1 : Site A The Site Hanson Court Golfhill Care Home

Old School Playing Fields

Firpark Court

Proposal 2 : Site B

106 Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?


t tree

kS par

Fir The Site

Golfhill Care Home

Path from Firpark Court and WASPS studio Community Cohesion Project 107


Wooden Posts, 1.8m tall at 1.8m centres to support softwood pales 100mmx25mm fixed alternatively on either side of rails with 2no 65mm galvanised nails per rail

Gravel Paths with Compacted Soil Foundations

108 Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?


215mm x 100mm Brick Raised Beds, 20mm Mortar Joints, 525mm Concrete Foundations. 100mm Clayware Drain, Black PVC weep pipe 37mm

Allotment Section Detail

Section of Allotments

Community Cohesion Project 109


Site plan of Allotments

110 Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?


Site plan of Allotments

Community Cohesion Project 111


112


Part 6 Interview Transcripts and Bibligraphy

113


Interview : Dementia

Well yes, and we have to go into their world. Rather than expecting them to come into our world.

With Maureen Barrett., Manager at Tornadee Care Home, Aberdeen

After talking about my grans situation – so she remembers people from her short term memory?

Do you think a dementia sufferer living in their own home up until the very end of their life is possible? It really depends on the level of dementia. It is possible if they have support, from carers or family members going in. As dementia progresses, they become a danger to themselves, for example they put a pan on and forget about it and walk away. Some people get forgetful and they think they’ve got an open fire because they’ve had one when they were younger, and they throw things onto the fire, even though it’s electric. So they start to perceive things differently? Definitely, an electric fire can become a coal fire. With dementia they forget their memory and an old lady can go back to a time when she was 50, with children, a husband going to work, with the responsibility to make tea for her family, which is why the women in the home often get so agitated around 5 o clock. So are they trapped in this past, and what determines what past they go back to? I’m not sure what determines where they go back to, but I know that they go back. They do sometimes forget their family, husbands, daughters, sons and certainly grandchildren. Some can tell you in great detail what they did when they were younger, but they can’t tell you they’ve had a cup of tea two minutes ago. It’s almost like they’re in a different world really?

114 Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?

Yes, not everyone is affected by it (short-term memory loss). The main problem with Nessie (my Gran) is communication. Do you think the environment has a large effect on the comfort of the sufferer? It is best to have things that are familiar around them as much as possible. In the care home it’s not so easy though you know. But certainly we need good sign age and that’s what we have; sign age, pictorial menus; as they might not always recognise a word but sometimes they recognise pictures. So if you let someone with dementia out into an urban city environment, do you think they’d be able to cope? Would they be able to remember things, the way home? Everyone is different, it affects everyone quite differently. We have had residents here that have managed to bypass all the key codes and all the security things and they have walked into Aberdeen. They don’t know where they are going really. People are searching for home, but where that home is, they’re really searching for that comfortable feeling you have when your home. So they’re kind of lost? Yes, emotionally lost and they’re searching for that lovely feeling of when you go home and shut the door and feel they can really start being themselves. So do you think that being in somewhere where they don’t remember, because they came in here at the end stages, do think that does actually unsettle them then?


Well it can initially, everyone who comes here after a few days, they’re maybe stood with their handbag, but after that, it sort of becomes home almost. They may be searching for something but because the staff help them and the feeling there is here, especially in the dementia unit, they feel at home, even though they know it’s not home. Obviously if you’re taken out of your home you’re going to feel this way, because in a way the home is like staying in a hotel? But sometimes the people who are at home, that isn’t their home, because home is a place they’ve stayed in their past. So they’re looking for home in a place before that? So it doesn’t even really matter about the environment? Yes. Because it’s unrecognizable to them anyway, because they know something is wrong and they’re searching, but they will never find it again. So I suppose you don’t know what that is so you can’t fabricate that for them? That’s why we try to distract them, have as many activities as we can for them, distract the attention away from that (the searching). So for example if the home was built with the physical surroundings for them to stay there; it was safe, they were looked after by their family, with outside carers coming in, do you think that sometimes they would still be searching for another home, even though they were in their home? Yes they do, that happens. There are so many people at home caring for their families at home who are exhausted, because it’s not just a day or a morning thing. The main reason why people come into a care home is because the

carer themselves are so exhausted that they become ill themselves. They’re often an elderly person, and elderly wife. Often they become incontinent and that’s the hardest thing, because there’s the washing, all the physicality’s of the task, so there’s not just the normal day to day things, there’s like this dependant person again, they can’t just go out to the shops. It’s got to the point, with many people here, that’s it’s become impossible for that older person to stay at home, because of the dangers – they may walk out of the door and not come back. They may start to become aggressive, start fighting, lose all recognition of what food is, the mechanics of eating, they forget how to chew. They need a bit of expert help then. So expert help is always necessary at the end of every case? At the end for everyone I suppose they need that physical assistance, but not everyone with dementia progresses in that way. So you mean someone could die from a heart attack before these late stages? Yes. The process is different for every person. So what about if they’d stayed in the same home all their life? Obviously its impractical to think of someone staying in one house their whole lifetime, but if that was possible would that be therapeutic for them? Yes definitely, that’s the best scenario for everyone; only however if they have the support and back up, but the problem is that support probably isn’t there. If they’re at home, the most government home care can offer is four times a day and that’s not to suit the person but to suit the agency who has to organise the carers who visit ; they may have a list of people who they’ve got to see. Unless you’ve got some money and can afford to pay for a 24 hour carer.

Index 115


Imagining a ward within a residential place, that was frequented a lot before they got dementia. Would this be more comfortable for them at the end?

that’s really important. I mean we like it best when families are coming in to help with the care; for the resident it’s much better.

It might be if they can remember.

And so that’s really therapeutic?

There’s been a lot of projects in Europe where what they’ve tried to do is put wards into the actual housing development, so instead of them leaving and leaving their family behind, they remain in the community? I think this would be better for them, and you would just transfer your skills to these places?

Yes, sometimes people don’t lose that recognition (of family) it’s very random.

Yes, Yes. (Unequivocally agrees). How do you think the logistics of this care would work? For example there would be four people in the ward, would that require four people to work there? Depends on the people…they might go off their feet… you’d need two people for hoisting, it depends on the peoples dependency need really. One of my ideas would be to have a double layered thing; two layers of housing, so two kind of quarters, at first these quarters when you have a family would be joined together, but then if the family moved out and then someone was to get dementia, they could be closed off to each other to give levels of privacy and the dementia sufferer would move to the bottom floor and the family to the top floor and then it would be opened up into a communal care facility? Right, with shops and stuff all there, with all the facilities? Yes, maybe, it would be like a care home at the bottom level, it wouldn’t be opened up until the person had dementia. Do you think that would be quite good, because they would be in the environment they’d been in. Yes that would be good, they’d be close to family and

116 Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?

And so would you say that’s one of the most therapeutic things? Having family there? Yes definitely. And are there any other mechanisms that help to heal people? I know certainly color and natural surroundings help? Yes, yes the garden and pets and children always bring a lot of pleasure. The atmosphere, if it’s warm and friendly, that helps people to feel more relaxed. What kind of atmosphere, how would you create the atmosphere? A friendly, comfortable, nice environment to look at, nice furnishings, fittings. Is traditional or modern best? Going back to the idea of memories would it be better if it correlated? Just anything they like, we try to bring as much as the persons past life in as possible with them. Pictures and just things, life stories so that they can engage with them (and remember), pictures of their husbands, wives, children, holidays they liked…. What would you change about this place? The design of it? Would you change any of it? The communal dining room for example, do they enjoy eating together? We figure out quite quickly if people like to be private,


if they like to spend all their time in their room – if they’ve always been private all their life, they’re not suddenly going to become sociable, we’ve got to accept everyone for who they are. The gardens, there’s a freedom there; they can go out into them if they want to. Would you change anything about the design of this place? You know care homes aren’t the ideal, are they, you know? Of course because there are budgets and I suppose very little nurses get much options to be involved in the design process? So if you could design the ideal environment for someone with dementia, what would you include? Well, I like the idea of being part of the community. Really being in close contact with family too?

after their grans and granddads at home. And do you think it works fine? Well I’ve never visited but we have a lot of staff who tell me about this, and they find this place strange. They tend to stay close to their families. So in a less sort of wealthy environment, the ‘care’ exists, whereas like here if you have money you pay someone else to do something for you? Well you grow up and you leave home, they go miles away. How many people move back to the next street? I think society has sort of made this, how it is. So people perceive homes as a problem, however it is a self-driven problem, because people don’t want to take responsibility for other people themselves? I would just be interested to know how people in the community would accept people who have dementia, because they are not like them.

Yes, yes, and just having access to all of those services you would have had if you were at home. You know we haven’t got a shop near-by, we haven’t got a pub near-by.

Do you think it would be possible?

Yes, it would give them a good chance to socialize with other people, those in the moderate stages?

So do you think people would feel bothered by these people?

Yes, yes, why not? This home is too far away.

Some people might be.

I did a study on this for my dissertation and I analyzed the poor location of this, through no fault of anyone here, the home is just part of a corporate machine.

So it is to do with intolerance?

Well yes (I suppose a care home is a profit making business)

So I suppose that supports the idea of these in home care places? Because if there’s a child growing up in the presence of someone with dementia it’s going to breed the tolerance towards this kind of thing?

It would be nice to see how they do it in (sub-Saharan) Africa, where there are no care homes. They do look

It would be lovely to think so, but not everyone has a caring nature.

Yes, and lack of understanding.

Yes, yes definitely.

Index 117


Privacy…is this necessary at the end stages? When they are dying they tend to sleep a lot, so they need their bed, they also have very little energy. If there were other people living in the room of the dying person at the end, do you think this would improve the person’s life in terms of them not feeling so alone? Well yes, people need human contact; certainly, they’ll recognise voices and need a human touch. So if I did go through with this model, at the end stages, would it be good to have a communal ward? In my experience, when people are dying, they need peace. You start to withdraw from life and you stop being bothered with other people, except from those who you’ve had strong relationships with in your life. You just get sleepier and sleepier and I think that’s the bodies’ preparation for death. So privacy is important, seclusion is important? Yes. Sensory things are important too, that gentle touch, that voice you recognise. Peaceful, not necessarily secluded. In the moderate stages, are they quite sociable with other people? Yes, yes, they can get a bit argumentative though. Making relationships can be difficult and I think that’s often why people with dementia tend to come to the staff because they get the engagement, they don’t get the satisfaction from engaging with the other residents with dementia. People get a bit scared of death, while we are used to it, the residents get quite scared when someone dies and so this is a consideration.

118 Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?

They don’t want to be in the same place as where someone else has died? Yes. Also if they’re not well, this can affect them too (in terms of disease/ virus spread etc) Going back to interaction between those with dementia and able bodied people? What kind of facility do you think it would be appropriate for them to share? Café or a pub or something like that? A community centre type thing..with many activities going on. You know the keep fit club here, the scrabble club. Music, anything to do with music would be great. So perhaps a communal music facility would be good? Yes because sometimes a sufferer may not be able to speak to you but they could sing every word of a song to you; a tune from the past. Some people who might not be-able to show emotion might cry buckets hearing ‘danny boy’. It’s powerful stuff music. Well maybe music would be the key one because it doesn’t really involve socializing to the extent where someone able bodied would get bored (as they might in converse with someone suffering from dementia with affected communication)? Yes yes exactly. They can enjoy it together and both be fulfilled at the same time? Yes. Yes. A choir centre! Some facility where the can sing together perhaps? Would an adaptation where with the onset of dementia, an alteration made to their house that allowed them direct access to care facilities, in the


comfort of familiar surroundings, be comforting?

Yes, definitely.

Well yes, of-course it would be better to be surrounded by a person who the sufferer knows well -that’s the most important thing.

Because I don’t really think this has been considered much when this model was created, I don’t think that they really investigated what would be good for people with dementia when they came up with the care home philosophy.

So if you made the house open into a care facility this would be effective? That would be the ideal situation, where they would know where everything is and know the people around them. But the problem is at the moment, with the way that care is structured, wouldn’t work, but maybe in the future it will, because I know they are going to try and reduce the number of care homes there are and the placements and it is going to be more care in the community. Although it will be difficult for the family who have to deal with it? Of course, and not all families want that. And there are also an awful lot of older people out there who are so lonely, so isolated and life actually changes for the better when they come here (to the care home). Some people are very very anxious, scared to be at home alone, they’re very frightened, you know they get carers coming in four times a day but the timing may not be convenient, for example they may want to get up at ten in the morning but the carer comes in at eight. Then they’ve got frozen meals, which are probably nice but they don’t have the choice. So what is most important is the familiarity and the proximity of the care resource to the original home, and if that home has been a life-time home that is even better? Yes, definitely. So, the location is more important than the architecture you would say?

No (laughter). I imagine it was just a way to make money? Absolutely, I think that’s what definitely what their hopes were. But there’s such a huge escalation now of people with dementia that things have to change. Because there aren’t enough care homes now, there’s a massive shortage of them. Why do you think there is a shortage of care homes these days? Why aren’t more people investing in care homes? Is it because it has been recognized that it is a dying model? The problem is a lot of the homes now are not fit for purpose and the homes are so regulated now as well – by environmental health, the fire brigade, Aberdeenshire council, the care commission. There is so much legislation and it’s so expensive to comply and people just can’t afford it now. People perceive care homes now as the enemy. When I first started my research, I perceived care homes as the enemy, but when someone is ill, you’re never going to have enough staff? Yes. It costs a fortune and because it’s a private business you have a budget and if you go over that budget with staff and you don’t make money you’ll close. It’s always a juggling act. It should be really be government run? Absolutely. Definitely.

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A completely different take on the situation, if you gave them less help and care, do you think the sufferers would stay stronger for longer, do you think the disease would deteriorate less quickly? I don’t think they would manage to be independent. If you left Nessie (my gran) then she would just get more and more anxious and that would not be good for her health at all, it would harm her. Well maybe this whole care model is impractical for like hoe evolution designed us to die. Maybe when you get to this stage it’s not supposed to be this drawn out? Well look at years ago, people didn’t live as long. There’s been people here for five years who can’t feed themselves, who can’t walk, they can’t do anything. They would have died a long time ago? If carers didn’t go in yes, they would have died a long time ago. It’s true that there is a question of making them comfortable, but should the care keep these people alive, who would have otherwise died had they been left alone? If you consider the care home, it actually has quite a corrupt ethos, although it is ‘caring’ it’s kind of just prolonging a really bad situation and making money out of it. I mean obviously the nurses and others like yourself care, however maybe the person who invented the care home saw it more purely as a profit making venture? Or maybe it is because society has become more caring? That’s a better thought I hope. It’s become more civilised…we don’t just let people die anymore?

120 Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?


Interview : C ommunity With Chris Stewart, Collective Architecture Glasgow So you do encourage the embedding of facilities within communities? Yes that is definitely something we support. Your own design ethos at collective generally has an aim to address the social impacts of form and matters of community? Yes, quite a kind of complex office ethos. I suppose originally it was set up to pursue themes of architectural participation and sustainability. The participation element involved working with communities and asking them what they wanted so all of these kind of ideas of building in community needs is quite specific to our ethos, and that’s developed into the same thinking happening in here (at collective). The way people work in here follows similar inclusive sort of ideas; everyone’s given their own chance to design there own things and pursue their own interests; a personal ownership led ethos in that individuals have the freedom to design something they want to design. So you feel that design affects the growth of communities in a sense of strongly bonded groups? If you’re talking about the physical environment yes, because if two peoples front doors face each other they are probably going to talk but if they do not they wont talk so much. Its processes as well, of participation, bonds, people because in fact having front doors facing each other could be pretty awful thing if the two people hated each other. However if those two people had worked together to decide they wanted their doors to face each other, and then

this would be a good thing. So maybe having them slightly facing each other would be a better thing. The important thing is that the people make the choice and they get what they want. So you support community cooperation from the outset? Yes, from the start we try to get the clients involved. An important word is collaboration. Another thing that is important is the mixing of tenures. I think people think that people who own a house are more responsible than people who rent and so does the government. We try to pepper pot tenures in line with government ethos to, placing renters in flats next to owners; however developers always seem to split them up. So which do you think are the most important aspects when designing communities – density, mixed use and mixed tenure or smaller design interventions? A mix of all I think. When you say density I think you’re immediately arguing for high density but low density may be the preference, you don’t know what its going to be (it comes from the participants who are going to be using the design). I mean low density, it may be the right thing for families, it really depends. Low density could be the right thing with great gardens, very green whatever. High density may have benefits too, or it could be a complete mix of the two, I don’t know. So you have a really open minded approach? Yes, I wouldn’t rule anything out. So do you think that a high density block would have the capacity to support a range of generations quite easily? Yes, you do get that in a way, in tenement blocks for example.

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In terms of someone with dementia though in a tenement block who lived on the third floor? Well there will become a point when they will really start to struggle but there becomes a point when they may need to move. I think it’s important to keep older people as independent for as long as possible though, so stairs aren’t necessarily a bad thing – they keep them fit. If you end up in a home its going to be pretty demoralizing. How about a home being built into a block? Well yes, there is no formula. I wouldn’t rule out everything or rule in anything, it’s just a matter of the specific project and what it might be. I mean you do see nice tenements with single storey bungalows behind them or mews buildings and it all kind of works together. Having a broad mix is the best thing I think. Tenements can be really nice all lined up but I tend to think the best ones are the ones with interesting things in the back courts; mews buildings or other things. Still quite high density though. Even suburbia may have its place. Do you really think suburbia has its place? Suburbia could be good; you know with internet it could become good again. They won’t need to commute. Do you think that will have good social impacts though? Well the social impact may come from something else; it could come from their village. I mean a village sounds great; you could go down to the village green, to the village pub. I wouldn’t rule anything out. Some suburbs are bad when you’re driving your car into the city and there’s one person in each car. So the reading supports high density with the

122 Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?

intermingling of shops and services into the housing but do you think this may have a detrimental affect on streets and towns and centres and place making? No. I think something I could never rule in would be an out of town shopping centre (so he supports the concept of intermingling). Mixed use is a much better model. Malcolm Fraser’s new report for the Scottish government encourages mixed use with housing and shops together. If at any point one thing becomes too overpowering then I think that starts to get bad. Do you think homes should be retrofitted to enable aging in place? Well having facilities close at hand so people don’t have to go far to get food or healthcare, that’s important. What do you think the potential would be of an organization to look at existing housing and to change it to suit the needs of an older person? I would not worry about it so much because I think people just put up with a lot to stay in a home they love that they have a history in. You can do things to help them get to places, improving accessibility and things, but I wouldn’t start butchering something that they love, because going ahead and changing things might affect the parts they love. More important is to complement the good features of the housing; good views, it might be that they are next to neighbors, it might be that you try to encourage those things instead of saying oh we’ve got to have lifts, we’ve got to have grab rails, this and that. A way of trying to do as little as possible to retrofit and questioning whether or not you really have to start sticking lifts in and grab rails, maybe leaving the stairs as this keeps them fit. Thinking about what you can do to enable them to stay in their homes for longer may be to do with adding amenities.


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Interviews Stewart, Chris. Collective Architecture, August 2013 Barrett, Maureen. Tornadee Care Home. August 2013 Glasgow Housing Association, November 2012

126 Creating Successful Multi-Generational Communities?


Index 127

Creating communities  

Would anyone want to stay in their home for a life-time? Well if the environment they lived in was a supportive one, if neighbors were frien...

Creating communities  

Would anyone want to stay in their home for a life-time? Well if the environment they lived in was a supportive one, if neighbors were frien...

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