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Recently, you may have heard Thomas Grey, a research fellow at Trinity Haus, Trinity College Dublin chatting about their research into housing for the ageing demographic on the Property Matters show. It was an interesting show and it once again proved the importance of placemaking and how it is vital to communities. 

As we know, there is poor housing choice for the ageing demographic in Ireland and the current homes (ageing people live in at the moment) may not suit their needs now or in the future. Another thing to consider is that most of the ageing demographic do not want to go into nursing homes and they would rather stay in their homes or at least in homes that are suitable for their ageing needs. Placemaking plays a role by ensuring that ageing demographics are housed in central areas with public transport, parks and facilities/amenities close by so they can keep their independence. Independent living for the ageing demographic can only be achieved with these foundations in place but the problem is (as Thomas Grey discussed) there isn’t enough of this type of accommodation in Ireland…

There is a great model of housing for ageing communities in McAuley Place, Naas – a development that is central to the town with everything nearby and with all the benefits of independent living for those who want it. For those who live in McAuley Place, they don’t need a car as they are well-positioned and this offers a huge advantage to our ageing demographic. 

The housing development, which opened in Spring 2011, consists of 53 self-contained apartments in the centre of Naas town on the grounds of the former Convent of Mercy. Each apartment comprises of one bedroom with a fully equipped kitchen/sitting room and a bathroom with a level-access shower. 

The sad reality is there isn’t enough of this type of housing model and as the Government strives for downsizing to give homes to young families, there simply isn’t anywhere for the ageing population to go therefore, they stay in their larger homes. UrbanAge can help the ageing population by providing its decision-support tool that uses themes and indicators drawn from best practice. UrbanAge strives to inspire, empower and inform people to co-create integrated housing opportunities for optimal ageing. The housing is in the right location and contains the right mix of intergenerational uses while being well-designed. It encourages the best kind of relationship between housing developments and communities. 

TrinityHaus was formed in 2008 to provide innovative solutions for buildings, neighbourhoods and cities. Over the last seven years the main research effort has focussed on two principal themes. These are energy efficient buildings and eco-districts and secondly people centred design on homes and neighbourhoods for all ages, sizes and abilities. TrinityHaus examines interconnected areas of research and design in relation to the built and urban environment. The ethos of TrinityHaus is derived from a holistic, multidisciplinary, multi-faceted approach, underpinned by creative thinking. It is only through such integrated vision that truly sustainable development can be achieved. By considering the interaction and interdependency of space, energy, air, water and earth, and by examining how these elements influence people, communities and the built environment, it is possible to remap and design  existing and proposed environments in a sustainable, low carbon, economic and socially responsible manner.

Listen back to the show here to hear more about what Thomas Grey had to say about UrbanAge.