Well-being and age in co-housing life: Thinking with and beyond design

Karen West

Co-housing communities, which are designed to encourage interaction in everyday life and informal mutual support, are often seen as a lifestyle that can improve residents’ health and well-being.

This viewpoint considers how spatial design, resident control and home technologies matter to ‘successful ageing’ in the increasingly popular co-housing communities- both intergenerational and senior. Based on the authors’ long-term research into these schemes, as well as on an interactive learning day that focused on the health and ageing dimensions of co-housing, the authors argue that the physical and mental well-being of older populations in the UK could be enhanced through this model’s social and material practices. Research, however, is still needed and lacking to determine its true potential for combatting loneliness, increasing social and physical resilience and improving older residents’ health.

Written for the Housing Learning and Improvement Network by Melissa Fernandez [Lancaster University], Kath Scanlon [London School of Economics] and Karen West [Aston University]

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