Living in Twilight: Aging, International Housing, and a New Model of Family Reciprocity

An aging population has implications for all sectors of our society including family structures, the demand for services, housing, social supports as well as intergenerational ties and relationship.  Both eastern and western societies are experiencing growth in the number and proportion of elderly in different countries’ populations.
This design thesis investigates aging and the changing pattern of intergenerational support, and specifically East Asian practices of family support and concept of "age in place" – as well as types and flows of support that could be provided and exchanged between and over generations – through a new model of intergenerational housing in the city of Vancouver, Canada.

This design thesis will: examine inclusive housing typologies that are suitable for societies facing socioeconomic and demographic pressure and focus on the needs of the aging population together with the needs of their children; explore intergenerational family relations, their cultures, spatial needs, psychological needs and social behaviours:

What are the characters in intergenerational family relations? What are their cultures, spatial needs, psychological needs and social behaviours? What are the opportunities and challenges when family members live together? What are the spatial challenges to accommodate different activities, schedules, behaviours in the daily routine of a family member at different stages of their lives? Where do the interactions happen? Where do the conflicts occur?

This design thesis explores new models of practical urban living that is friendly to families with children and to the elderly who want to remain in close proximity to family, focusing on creating an urban multi-family living environment that provides a sense of belonging, life satisfaction, and security for older family members. The architecture model encourages integration, interactions, communications and reciprocal supports among older parents and their family members.