Intergenerational Design

Our parks and public spaces have great potential to change our communities for the better. By bringing together people from all backgrounds and ages, the public places we all share can combat generational silos, segregation and other age-related issues we are facing as a nation, while helping to ensure equitable access for all. Intergenerational design aims to bring people together through purposeful, mutually beneficial activities that promote greater understanding and respect between generations. Additionally, investing in these spaces fosters value creation by building cohesive communities, encouraging additional investments in neighborhoods and local businesses, and changing the perception of safety.

Most importantly, to create truly intergenerational settings, it’s essential to avoid “cookie-cutter” park design and engage the local community as advocates and contributors. Utilizing input, creativity, and innovation in park design can help focus a community’s recreational activities to intergenerational ones that are appropriate for all. Considering landscape detail and infrastructure are both key components of success.

People of all ages have knowledge to share with other generations that may not be exposed to that knowledge. By creating opportunities for shared generations to spend time together, we open the door for intergenerational learning, and therefore understanding, compassion, and support for each other.

“Intergenerational design” is a design concept, which considers people holistically in their environment. As part of the concept, the physical space, be it residential buildings or entire city quarters, is redesigned in order to mediate between generations and phases of life. The focus is primarily on the exchange between generations within a holistic design.

What is behind it, however, is much larger than a pure design concept. Intergenerational design requires a real cultural change. Aging should no longer be perceived as a defect and process of decay. But rather as a gain in experience, wisdom and serenity – both for the individual and for society.

Intergenerational Design is the practice of creating something that is appropriate and suitable for anyone regardless of age.

The widening generation gap is becoming a salient issue in our society. The deterioration in our intergenerational relationships has led to poor perceptions of ageing and pervasive ageism in our society.

Studies have provided considerable evidence that positive intergenerational contact would be mutually beneficial to older adults as well as young adults and children.

The concept of intergenerational design aims to provide opportunities for positive intergenerational contact to occur, to create new positive narratives of ageing, to educate our communities, and update our knowledge of old age.

Intergenerational space refers to the physical space and the environment that are designed to be conducive for intergenerational engagements to take place.

Intergenerational spaces reside in both our homes and the public realm. These are shared communal areas that accommodate all ages and a wide range of activities. Children, youths, and older adults would be able to make connections with each other through scheduled programmes or spontaneous encounters.

Intergenerational Contact Zones (ICZS)
An ICZ is defined as a spatial focal point for different generations to meet, interact, build relationships, and, if desired, work together to address issues of local concern.

3-Generation (3G) Facilities
3G is a concept that describes the notion of bringing multiple generations together. Facilities can involve arrangement in public housing or the co-location of childcare and eldercare facilities.

Environmental Design
Although the design of the built infrastructure shapes the way we interact and socialise, and the way we commute and cross paths in our everyday lives, the design of the environment in which these contacts take place is equally crucial.