From Subdivisions to Ecosystems

By 2030, 79 million baby boomers will have turned 65 at a rate of 10,000 per day. While more than 85 percent will age in place, a tsunami of challenges and opportunities will compel this cohort to embrace more cooperative structures of living, given their explosive increase in single-person households. The nation’s housing stock and neighborhoods are not equipped to serve the common mobility, access, and social needs of seniors. Many who now age in place often experience greater social isolation and loss of purpose than residents of nursing homes. What is the shape of housing that accommodates retirement lifestyles for the 85 percent who do not live in the urban cores of the nation’s top 50 cities and want to stay in the single family home as long as possible?

Third Place Ecologies reworks components of the familiar single-family home to promote new levels of connectivity in neighborhoods once resistant to sharing. Once individual porches are extended to serve multiple units as hyper-porches; garage galleries hydridize car parking to become, once again, neighborhood work and maker spaces, and patio mats as live-work venues, all revitalize neighborhoods through return of the informal.

Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, this housing study for Freeman, South Dakota, will also be published as a book illustrating the 21 Principles Toward a New Cooperation in design of neighborhoods for aging populations. 


2017 ACSA/AIA Housing Design Education Award


National Endowment for the Arts


City of Freeman, South Dakota

AuthorMatthew Petty