What is Intergenerational Living?

Young and Old

  • Housing model comprising of younger and older residents (intergenerational: involving several generations)

Affordable Housing

  • A tool used to provide solution for affordable housing issues
  • Even though intergenerational living, by definition alone, does not need to have affordable housing financing built in
  • Housing providers have used this housing model to address housing issues and benefit seniors and youth in their communities

Introduction from Intergenerational Living Auckland

The concept began in Europe about two to three decades ago with people in their 50s and 60s wishing to explore new living options. They wanted to find a ‘third way’ that avoided the disadvantages of either living alone in independent units or living exclusively among other older people in a retirement village. They saw that traditional support institutions such as the family, neighbourhood, community and church had weakened and felt the need for new solutions that would foster connection and a sense of belonging. In an Intergenerational Living complex, people of different ages live together in apartment blocks or separate (usually terraced) houses. Units may be rented or privately owned, with separate titles. Each individual/family has their own self-contained space complemented by community rooms and gardens. Typically the community rooms are used for meetings, shared meals and for workshops/hobbies.

In bigger complexes there might be a café which is open to the public, a laundry, rooms for child-care/youth activities, special ‘care apartments’ with professional care, and a guest room. Generally a complex will have 20-30 units and 40-60 residents. Ideally, one third of the inhabitants (families, singles, solo parents) will be younger than 40, one third 40 to 60 and one third older than 60. Residents show a willingness to embrace neighbourly co-operation. They give each other mutual support, for example help with driving, shopping, administration, paperwork, child supervision, and neighbourly help in illness and emergencies.

Popular Success Story

  • Humanitas retirement home in Deventer, Netherlands, 2013
  • Resulted when a student contacted Humanitas CEO, Gea Sijpkes, because campus housing was too noisy
  • In brief:
    • 6 university students live rent-free alongside 160 elderly residents
    • Students can come and go as they please; cannot be nuisance to the elderly
    • Students must contribute 30 hours/month of activities (ex. watching sports, celebrating birthdays, offering company when seniors ill)

Read more on existing projects