Getting older is a journey filled with challenges, and for architect Matthias Hollwich, the struggle of moving is a significant one. But what if we could reimagine the retirement home, providing a space where seniors can age gracefully without leaving behind their connections and purpose? Enter FLX Live, a groundbreaking senior living concept designed by Hollwich, aiming to transform an empty Manhattan office building into a vibrant community hub.
In the quest to address the needs of an aging population and create a more active vision of retirement, developers, architects, and city leaders are embracing a new model of senior housing – the urban village. This model stands in stark contrast to traditional isolated suburban retirement communities, offering a dynamic and communal living experience. FLX Live exemplifies this by featuring communal dining, spa and co-working spaces, and shared living suites, fostering an age-diverse community where older adults and younger renters coexist harmoniously.
The shift towards urban senior living is not just a trend; it’s a response to a changing demographic landscape. As the stigma around older adults diminishes, developers recognize the potential of seniors to support local businesses, from cafes to bookstores and salons. This change is timely, considering the increasing number of middle-income seniors projected by 2033.
Affordable senior rentals in urban areas were once a challenging real estate proposition, but times have changed. With a growing population of adults in their 30s and 40s opting not to own homes, the demand for diverse and affordable housing options for seniors has never been more pressing. The urban village model focuses on leveraging local resources, creating a symbiotic relationship between younger and older renters, ultimately resulting in more affordable rent.
Kallimos Communities, led by progressive senior housing advocate Bill Thomas, takes a bold step with multigenerational neighborhoods that emphasize community living. This innovative concept, with developments underway in Texas and Colorado, has garnered significant interest from older couples seeking to be part of a vibrant community.
In the UK, the RightSizer model is repurposing Main Street businesses into senior housing sites and community-focused centers, revitalizing local culture and business. Meanwhile, in Oregon, Bridge Meadows successfully integrates seniors, foster children, and their foster parents in shared facilities, challenging the notion of seniors being secluded.
Intergenerational living is proving to be a successful strategy, with developers like McNair Living and Tabitha building senior living facilities near college campuses. Tabitha’s upcoming intergenerational facility in Nebraska exemplifies this approach, offering college students a chance to live alongside elders, creating a rich and diverse living experience.
As cities rethink their approach to residential spaces in the post-pandemic era, the communal orientation of housing is gaining traction. The awakening to the importance of keeping urban
settings active aligns with the shift towards more inclusive and vibrant senior living options. In this evolving landscape, urban senior living is not just about housing; it’s about creating dynamic communities where every generation thrives together.