Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Architecture



Major Professor

Tracy W. Moir-McClean

Committee Members

Jennifer Akerman, Avigail Sachs


Retirement and Aging are very important aspects of a person’s life. Many changes in lifestyle, ability to manage one's personal environment occur after retirement and are associated with emotional changes, diminishing physical and cognitive ability. Suburban single-family homes and neighborhoods that were very advantageous for young adults raising families become unmanageable in later years and contribute to the physical or psychological issues faced by aging populations.

These physical or psychological problems can be addressed through designing a community in which the aging residents feel independent, get adequate stimulation of the brain and good physical activity. The living arrangements, food, gardening, water and past memories, affect the lifestyles of the elderly retirees.

The quest of this thesis is to design a community that maintains and even improves the quality of life for people after retirement by providing them with a living arrangement which is still connected to the suburbs, a condensed neighborhood that maintains ties to familiar neighbors and places, proximity to water, food production and reliving past memories.

The goal of this thesis is to investigate issues and literatures related to aging in place and sustainable communities, and apply this to design investigation. The design investigation selected to explore this thesis is a sustainable Senior Housing community that provides a smooth transition from being employed to being retired, and supports the residents as they age in place. A successful ‘Aging in Place’ program and community maximizes the personal dignity and the functional independence of the residents. Design of a sustainable community for aging in place needs to include features that allow individuals to adjust their effort and contribution to community as they age; that encourage social interaction, connection with nature and conservation of resources, and put in place elements that allow residents to receive short and longer term assistance with the activities of daily lives (Heumann & Boldy, 1993). The design investigation focuses on condensing the familiar aspects of the existing suburban condition within a more manageable neighborhood. Food, water, fitness and opportunities to create and cherish memories come together in this proposed neighborhood, community and the living unit itself.

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