Intergenerational design: bringing communities together

28 April 2023

Over recent years there has been a growing interest in intergenerational design, spurred on by the desire to bring isolated communities together, reduce the segregation of people by age, and understand the potential benefits to everyone that this can provide.

There is also an acknowledgement that there is a real lack of new, affordable and good quality housing available for our population, combined with a lack of existing housing stock release for families. We have begun to recognise that ‘one size’ does not fit all and that we need to provide flexible housing options that are adaptable to all needs across all ages.

Pozzoni has been fascinated by these issues for many years and we have explored the topic through a number of our retirement, care and wellbeing projects in partnership with our trailblazer clients. We are also passionate about research and have conducted European and worldwide study tours looking at best practice intergenerational design across different cultures as well.

We have been able to bring together communities through our designs in a number of successful multi-generational schemes, many in increasingly urban settings, benefitting from excellent accessibility to local amenities and transport.

Belong is a pioneering care operator and, over the last 20 years, Pozzoni has worked in partnership to design all eight of its completed Care Villages, with another currently under construction, and other pipeline projects at concept stage too.

Belong Chester was completed in July 2022 and occupies a prominent canal side location in the centre of the city. The building has been designed to be a fully intergenerational community, with facilities that include 24-hour dementia and nursing care with a further 23 independent living apartments.

The development encourages shared learning experiences for both young and older people, through the incorporation of a nursery at the heart of the village. Here, 25-places are available to children aged 0 to 5 years, and features include a sensory nature and play garden, in a high-quality care and learning environment.

At a larger scale the ambition for an intergenerational ‘healthy neighbourhood’ within the North Manchester General Hospital regeneration masterplan is taking shape. The scheme will provide a significant contribution to the local community in terms of healthy living, life expectancy, skills and employment, and economic development.

This project has involved extensive research in collaboration with Manchester Metropolitan University and has identified the key features necessary to deliver a holistic healthy neighbourhood. The masterplan has now been developed to create a neighbourhood of flexible and adaptable residential accommodation, community, care, health and wellbeing provision plus public space interventions to improve the health, wellbeing and quality of life for the diverse residents of Crumpsall, and also provides connections to the wider community of North Manchester.

Article written by

Emma Tanti