Can Design Evoke Youth? Exploring Paradigms of Intergenerational Interactions

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Society lacks a thorough understanding of the concept of aging. By the time Americans reach their senior years, they have little concept of what life will become as an aging adult. Older adults begin to grow isolated from society both physically and mentally. Health limitations, technological or transportation limitations, and spatial discrepancies generate barriers to seniors, perpetuating a cycle of isolation and loneliness. As the senior population rapidly increases with the aging of Baby Boomers, can architecture break this cycle and stimulate the creation of a society of intertwined generations? This thesis challenges the design of senior housing to become a vehicle through which seniors might reconnect with society through intellectual, physical, and social engagement. Designing spaces that foster new paradigms of intergenerational relationships may become the tool through society is exposed to the beauty and importance of aging.