Planning for Intergenerational Design

Intergenerational facilities’ are shared areas where children, youth and older adults interact during scheduled or spontaneous activities creating togetherness for all ages. 

Clearly, the most important part of an intergenerational design is that the space must accommodate a variety of ages and activities. The place must have the feel and function of home by providing residents with the proper balance of privacy and community by incorporating effective safety and security measures and by promoting their independence and pride. It is critical to create spaces that are designed specifically for planned intergenerational activities while also creating flexible areas that would encourage unplanned, informal activities between all ages.

Some older adults enjoy interacting and playing with children while others prefer to just watch the children play from a distant; some like indoor play areas while others take pleasure in outdoor games. Intergenerational planned activities are feasible through music, art, cooking, gardening, and exercise. Focus areas for activities include the dining room, classroom, activity kitchen, craft room, multipurpose play room, and horticultural therapy area. Other levels of interactions can be provided by a one-way window to the children’s indoor play area, outdoor gardens outside of the older adults’ residence, small gathering spaces that would invite the older adults to interact informally among themselves as well as the children.

The goal is to make sure there are designed spaces specific for planned intergenerational activities and areas that would create spontaneous togetherness. 

Content provided by Neda Norouzi, B. Env. D., AIA, M. Arch, MURP