An intergenerational community

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Campbell, Brian
Wyman, John E.
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Thesis (B. Arch.)
College of Architecture and Planning
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An examination of the way Americans deal with aging shows that we are much different than other cultures. It seems that Americans render a person useless when they enter into a certain age group. The result of this way of thinking casts our seniors into segregation. Our system takes them away from society and relies on healthcare and other professions to care for our elders. A close look at other cultures shows a different attitude and treatment of elders. These societies revere seniors for their wisdom and experience rather than discard them. It is not unusual to find three, four, or five generations living under one roof.The challenge of this thesis project is to exam the way in which we as designers can use the built environment to improve this situation. As the project progressed, other issues became apparent. A breakdown and close analysis of the issues such as 1) the baby-boomers coming of age; 2) aging as a process; 3) the isolation of generations; 4) the weak link of elderly to community and family; and 5) how environments can be harsh on the elderly, can be a solution to the general problem of how we treat our seniors. Research and precedents have played a large role in the beginning phases of this project. Before a design solution can be implemented, it must be understood just what the current norms are in regards to existing facilities. A site visit and analysis of the Four Seasons in Columbus, Indiana set the stage for the conceptual design of the intergenerational community. Local and social contextual issues make Noblesville, Indiana an ideal site choice. Located within walking distance of parks, healthcare, shopping centers, and the city's civic square, this area contains all of the necessary ingredients for a successful intergenerational community. Along with the physical amenities, Noblesville is home of great civic pride.