Ageing together: Senior co-housing within a pocket community

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Lao, Roxanne
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Architecture (Professional)
Pretty, Annabel
Bloomfield, Sibyl
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Avondale (Auckland, N.Z.)
New Zealand
older people
retirement villages
aged care facilities
mental health
social engagement
multi-generational living
independent living
collaborative housing
architecture for older people
pocket communities
Auckland (N.Z.)
Lao, R. (2020). Ageing together: Senior co-housing within a pocket community. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture (Professional)). New Zealand. Retrieved from
RESEARCH QUESTION: How can a better quality of life for the elderly be achieved through architecture in an aged care facility? ABSTRACT: The ageing population of New Zealand is growing significantly and is becoming more ethnically diverse. According to Statistics NZ, it is projected that singleperson households are expected to increase from “390,000 in 2013 to 580,000 in 2038” and among the people who live alone “64% are projected to be aged 60+ in 2038.” One of the major impacts of an increase in elderly living alone is social isolation and loneliness. Although there is a growing number of retirement villages for the elderly, most follow a Western aged care model which does not address the needs of an increasingly diverse community. Moreover, given the levels of isolation and loneliness identified by research of many elderly in retirement, there is a significant need to find an architectural solution that better promotes the quality of life of elderly individuals. This research project is an architectural intervention to address issues commonly associated with ageing such as loneliness, social isolation, and a lack of quality of life. To contextualise the topic, a brief overview of the beginning of retirement homes in New Zealand is discussed. This provides basic knowledge on how aged care progressed in New Zealand and how it is expected to grow in the future. This has influenced the research project to propose an alternative retirement care model for the elderly. To achieve this, the project has taken Kainga Ora’s project, Highbury Triangle, which is an aged housing project, to propose an alternative approach that has a similar intention of providing better living for the elderly. This project involved an in-depth study of quality of life and social interaction between the elderly and the younger generation. This includes elements of quality of life such as family involvement, autonomy and privacy, wayfinding and multisensory environment which contributed to the criteria for the design. An analysis of several precedent studies including retirement villages such as De Hogeweyk and Tao Home, and social housing such as The Nightingale Project, Treehouse and FABRIC, provided a list of design attributes that informed the final design. The result of this research project is an architecture that values the quality of life of elderly people through a focus on common cultural values. Close attention to improving the quality of life of elderly individuals has been achieved through the integration of senior cohousing and promoting intergenerational interactions within the pocket community.
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