Cultural habitat for the elderly : an aged care facility in a multicultural Fijian society
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Citation:Chandra, S. (2017). Cultural habitat for the elderly :An aged care facility in a multicultural Fijian society. Explanatory document. An unpublished research project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture (Professional), Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/4237
RESEARCH QUESTION: How can Fiji’s multicultural traditions inform an architectural response to the needs of elderly citizens living in urban Fijian communities? This research project is a response to concern about a lack of aged care facilities in Fiji. There has been a rise in the numbers of elderly individuals in Fiji, with population growth in the sector associated with healthier lifestyles and advances in medical practice. The increasing numbers of elderly people has a direct impact on existing social welfare and health care policies. Poverty, land lease issues, natural disasters and rising sea levels due to climate change are some of the issues affecting Fijians. These factors have influenced families migrating from rural to urban centres in order to earn a living. This urban drift is also likely to have a negative effect on rural communities especially if elderly people are left behind with no family members to take care of them. This research explores architectural solutions to the problems faced by elderly Fijians living in urban centres by developing alternative living arrangements to house the elderly who require accommodation and care. The research explored existing traditional living arrangements of Fijians in a multi-generational, multicultural and multi-racial society. The architectural technique adapted by contemporary Fijians has also influenced the design outcome. Modern materials and technology were employed to ensure effective use of resources and sustainable design to enhance the comfort of care environment required. To develop the architectural proposition a number of architectural precedents were examined in relation to different care environments. These included a culturally informed designed aged care facility, a multi-generational community designed with the idea of ageing in place, a designed environment specific for a dementia care provisions and a care environment which successfully employed a village typology in New Zealand. Based on these processes an aged care facility was designed for Lautoka city, which both reflects and celebrates the local cultures. It provides communal living in an urban environment, which incorporates the concept of ageing in place. Overall the design proposition offers an example for future developments for aged care facility design in a multicultural Pacific context and represents a major step forward in addressing the lack of appropriate aged care facilities in Fiji.