Developments with intergenerational living at their core are taking shape across the globe.
A little social interaction can go a long way.
As cities around the world grapple with an ageing population and look for ways to combat social isolation of the elderly, some city officials are looking to multigenerational living as a potential solution, with many encouraging the development in their districts of housing developments that are age-mixed by design.
The concept is simple: get different generations to live side by side, and magic will happen.
Developed by our customer GSW Sigmaringen, the Future Living residential development in Berlin-Adlershof, on the outskirts of the German capital, is a living experiment in multigenerational housing. The eight residential buildings making up Future Living, with their 90 apartments, are home to a very diverse crowd: singles, couples, families, seniors, and students. The demographic makeup of Future Living is kept intentionally diverse, while the grounds are peppered with communal spaces designed to encourage tenants to interact and mingle.
But why insist on bringing different generations together?
Tackling the growing social isolation of the elderly is probably the most obvious benefit. Frequent social interactions are known to have a positive effect on both physical and mental health – and research shows that that’s particularly true for seniors.
Intergenerational living provides a way to stay socially active with relative ease – step outside your apartment and opportunities to strike up a conversation abound. Some go as far as to argue that projects like these can also help combat ageism by bridging generational gaps.
Policymakers and city planners are also finding the concept attractive. With many having to contend with stretched healthcare systems and understaffed nursing homes, these developments provide an opportunity to redefine how we approach old age – and to stop what some call the 'ghettoization of old age'.
The Future Housing development is not only a textbook example of multigenerational housing, though – it’s got much more going for it. It was also designed to allow its tenants to lead a smart, sustainable, and energy-efficient lifestyle.
We helped bring that vision to life by creating the access and transport systems for this pioneering housing development, supplying Schindler PORT, as well as eight elevators. Doors to the buildings and apartments are fitted with PORT 4 Visitor: they open at the swipe of an access card, or with the Schindler myPORT app.
"It’s not only about state-of-the-art technology," says Sebatian Lurg, Head of Center of Expertise (CoE) digital system solutions, who worked on the project from the outset. "It’s this idea that smart technology needs to support a broader goal – in this case, fostering diversity and intergenerational dialogue."
Berlin is not the only city experimenting with the multigenerational living concept. Many other cities around the world are also looking to the concept as a way to help stamp out loneliness and breathe new life into neighborhoods.
In many ways, these projects are just a fresh spin on an old concept.
Multigenerational households were the norm until the 1950s – in the West at least. It was common for older people to move in with their children, who would care for them in their old age. This slowly started to change when nursing homes started to spring up in the 1960s.
In Bergamo, Italy – just a short train ride from Milan – a new development by the name of Chorus Life is taking shape. Intergeneration living, but also environmental sustainability and connectivity lie at the core of Chorus Life's vision. The project is designed to encourage community life, by providing a digitally connected and sustainable space for different generations to live together. And there again, our technology is helping turn this vision into reality.
The 39 elevators and 17 escalators we supplied are in keeping with the spirit of the project. Our modular Schindler 5000 and Schindler 3000 elevators each come equipped with a regenerative drive, energy-efficient LED lighting and an automatic stand-by mode – enabling energy savings of up to 30 percent compared to previous generation Schindler elevators. Our Schindler 9300 escalators, for their part, ensure efficient and sustainable mobility, thanks to an innovative drive system and three ECO operating modes.
All these units are connected and will be integrated into the smart urban project's network, making remote monitoring and maintenance possible – with all the sustainability benefits this entails. Designed with inclusion in mind, the elevators serving the Chorus Life district will feature buttons with Braille language and a voice synthesizer for people with disabilities.
With its 80 apartments, a 110-room hotel, a multi-purpose arena to host events of all kinds, a food & beverage space, a shopping center, sports & wellness facilities, and green spaces galore, Chorus Life is designed to be a city within a city – a community that brings different generations together.
Danilo Calabrò, CEO and General Manager of Schindler Italy, says: "We're proud to contribute with our mobility solutions to such a revolutionary and unique project, which we hope will soon be replicated in other cities around the world."