55+ A Landscape for Intergenerational Living

Keegan Steeper

Ontario is experiencing a demographic shift as a significant proportion of its demographic ages. Over the next twenty years it is estimated that the number of seniors aged 65 and above will double. For small urban centres such as Sarnia, a city in Southwestern Ontario, the shift has been increased by the decline in the population of youth. This has led to a change in the city’s urban fabric as multiple schools close and consolidate while proposals of retirement residences across the region begin to proliferate. The closures have left a gap in public infrastructure as places that once facilitated social and community engagement are left vacant and their communal benefit lost. This thesis proposes a plan for the revitalization of a secondary school in the heart of the city that is soon to be vacated. Mixed senior and public units dispersed around a community hub would facilitate social and visual stimulus while offering the potential of intergenerational collaboration and interaction. Age can be subjective; it does not account for the exact mental, physical or emotional state of a human being. Intergenerational mixing in living and community is important to prevent the societal norm of systematically separating generations and benefits all. A typology of living needs to be created to allow for fluid interactions between generations and prevent isolation that can cause quicker degradation of the mind and body. The project creates a landscape in which residents can find agency to view and participate in different aspects of the city’s ecosystem. This is to allow for the embodiment of a life lived, the new possibilities of a societal role and the potential for a rewarding, stimulating and culturally rich relationship between all generations acting within the holarchy.

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