A change is happening in communities throughout the U.S. Where postwar suburban communities put young families at a distance from their elders, the number of intergenerational households has steadily risen since 1980. A Pew Research study found that a record 64 million people, or 20% of the U.S. population, live with multiple generations under one roof. Part of this trend can be attributed to growing Asian and Hispanic populations, as these families are more likely to combine households of older and younger generations of adults.
Housing developers have taken notice. Eli Spevak wrote for AIA about the “cottage cluster” neighborhood he developed with partner Zach Parrish in Portland, Oregon. These types of neighborhoods share gardens, courtyards, and often club houses that serve as a common recreation and gathering area. Spevak deliberately designed his community to appeal to young families as well as empty nesters who were downsizing.
Walkways with gentle grades and no steps are walker-friendly as well as stroller-friendly. Outdoor areas that accommodate play structures for kids as well as quiet spots for elders rounds out the community plan.
Read the article: Friends of all ages: Life in a multigenerational community
Patrick Sisson wrote in Curbed about the rise in “2 for 1 Homes” built specifically for parents and their adult children to share. Some of these households combined in the economic downturn following the Great Recession, but they’re choosing to stay together because of the many benefits. “Caregiving became easier, children formed bonds with older family members, and everyone saved money.”
Architects hope to find additional markets for affordable multigenerational units in cities. Lively, walkable neighborhoods aren’t just for hipsters. Seniors need them, too.
Read the article: How a return to multigenerational living is shifting the housing market
As more and more 65+ people are putting off retiring or even “unretiring“, the “elderly islands” of golf courses and traditional retirement communities are becoming obsolete.
Aging Boomers want to be near their kids and grandkids, and builders are happy to oblige. In the Los Angeles Times, Andrew Khouri writes, “Developers are particularly bullish on multi-generational communities, which provide senior-only neighborhoods in an otherwise family-oriented master plan.”
The benefits of multigenerational housing are a sharp contrast to the downside of segregated senior housing. Khouri interviewed Andrew Carle, founding director of the Program in Senior Housing Administration at George Mason University, who said, “When you place older adults in younger settings, they age slower, but put them all together, they all age faster. It’s not healthy to separate yourself.”
Read the article: A new generation of senior housing is making ‘elderly islands’ obsolete