Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department


Committee Member

David Allison, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Dina Battisto

Committee Member

Dr. Anjali Joseph

Committee Member

Dr. Cheryl J. Dye


It is well-known that many countries face tremendous challenges triggered by the aging of their population. The increasing percentage of the population that is reaching or at retirement age and rising life expectancy have brought about increasing multigenerativity, a new social phenomenon, when different generations live at the same time longer (Höpflinger, F., 2008). These demographic changes will be complemented with socio-cultural transformations, such as changing the perception of old age, the decrease in traditional multigenerational extended families living together and the growing conditions of multi-locational families. These undergoing changes significantly impact all niches of society: labor markets and social policy, healthcare systems, as well as design and urban planning. So, a crucial question today is how are young and old generations going to coexist in times of a scarcity resources and an increasing imbalance between the number of elderly and the number of people in generations below them. A constantly growing body of available models for housing and delivering healthcare and supportive services to the elderly are based primarily on an age-segregative approach (such as skilled nursing home, assisted living, a retirement community, board and care housing, etc.). As a result, existing living environments represent mostly a homogeneous milieu, where the elderly are physically and socially isolated from the rest of the community (Peace, S. M., 2001, p.195). This thesis proposes to explore planning and design strategies that create an inclusive environment for the elderly, supporting “aging in place” whereas, mixed-age (or age-integrated) strategies are targeted for the physical integration of various generations for mutual support and self-help. The mixed-age approach is embodied in a model of a multigenerational community, a residential arrangement for young and old. This thesis claims that a multigenerational community could be a viable alternative solution to traditional age-specific care housing and care models or isolated living in a private house. The aim of this research is to define design strategies as tools for creating a community for old and young generations in the U.S, and apply them through the development of a conceptual project. Seven imperative guidelines were developed based on a literature review and analysis of the best design practices of multigenerational communities in the U.S. and Europe. These design strategies were applied to a conceptual design of a multigenerational community in Greenville South Carolina. The project presents a unique symbiosis of healthcare, residential and mixed-use environment, suitable for every stage of life. It includes an ambulatory clinic that serves all ages, a community café, co-working space, a day-care and other communal facilities that form essential features of this community together with contiguous outside spaces that create beneficial and supportive milieu for everyone.



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