Establishing Socially Inclusive Environments: Supporting Mixed Aged Demographics in an Urban Context
Alzheimer's disease, Patients, Dwellings, Designs and plans; Long-term care facilities, Maine, Portland, Designs and plans; Intergenerational relations; Alpha Ro Chi Medal winner (2020)
Multi-generational living, important in certain cultures, does not appear as a cultural tradition in the United States. Within America, there has been a loss of community due to the separation of families living together, a disregard for social spaces, the division of demographics, and sending elderly relatives to live elsewhere. Culturally the United States see’s value in the individual over the ability to collectively support each other. Those who do not have the ability to provide for themselves, many times the elderly, find themselves placed on the edge of society, shuttered away and removed from their community. Diseases which often plague the elderly tend to go unnoticed as historically in the United States the Elderly have been continually labeled as burdens on society. Relying on facilities such as assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and hospice centers, other individuals take care of their essential needs as America’s current financial system lacks the ability for our loved one’s to be cared for by family members. The United States living system of demographic separation does not work for communal integration. This thesis provides a cultural shift in thinking about how we as a community can live together, with people of different ages, in particular the elderly. In this paradigm, the elderly program is placed alongside those in affordable housing, a pre-school, and a research center establishing a socially viable environment for residents, locals, and visitors. Located in Portland, Me, this multi-generational environment resides within a reviving urban downtown, enveloped by the growing community. As Maine’s elderly rate grows immensely comparatively to the rest of the United States,communal housing for seniors, those with Alzheimer’s, and young adults will combat the issue of isolation typically felt by the elderly population.
The Douglas D. Schumann Library and Learning Commons, Wentworth Institute of Technology