Senio co-housing design in China's suburban environment
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The main design problem that I investigated is: How might senior co-housing in China’s suburban environment interact with culture, comfort and energy as a response to China’s aging issues? The topic will be explored into the following two parts: (1) The feasibility study of senior co-housing as a new housing type responding to China’s aging issues. (2) The prototype design of a senior co-housing community in China’s suburban environment--- a study on its interaction with culture, comfort and energy. China is currently experiencing a rapid demographic shift. In mid-January 2011, China’s National Bureau of Statistics announced that China now has roughly 185 million people over the age of 60, and this number will increase to 248 million by 2020 (Benjamin Shobert 2012). According to the data from the United Nations World Population Prospects at May 31, 2011, by the year 2030, more than 24.4% of China’s population will be over the age of 60, compared to the ratio of 25.3 in the U.S. The increasing aging population will make China one of the oldest countries in the world. While the aging issue is global, the specific context makes it unique in China. The “one-child policy” (officially translated as “family planning policy”), which restricts urban couples to only one child, has been carried out since 1979(“Family Planning in China” 2013), and dramatically changed the family structure in China. In the beginning of last 90s, every 1 elderly in China was supported by 10 adult children. For now, assuming the fact that the “one-child” policy is not quite functioning in most rural areas, the ratio becomes 1 to 3. This means the traditional family size is shrinking, and the function of the family is weakening. Meanwhile, the massive migration among the youth generation in China has made this situation even worse--lots of elderly parents and grandparents stay geographically distant from their children, which means the traditional cross-generational housing model will no longer be an option. Since their single child is unable to care for them, the current age 50+ generation that has been affected by the ‘one-child policy’ would face a lack of resources and necessities. Based on the facts stated above, a discourse arises in recent years: What is the housing option that meets the needs of the current 50+ generation, considering China’s context-specific constraints? Starting with the interest of answering those questions, the whole study consists of two parts: Firstly, by studying China’s context-specific constraints, proposing an alternative housing type; secondly, conducting a prototype design of this particular housing type by further exploring the design problem. The first part has been done by the author through an independent study during the Fall 2013 semester, in which the author discussed the importance and feasibility of applying senior co-housing in China’s suburban environment as a solution to China’s aging issues. In the Master Study Design, the author will combine the knowledge/ findings from the independent study with design strategies. Chosen a senior co-housing community with 15 occupants in a selected suburban environment as the study object, the author hopes to find a design solution by proposing a scheme that interacts with culture, comfort and energy.