Cultures and Architectures of Aging

An experimental design and research project

The growing proportion of older people in the overall population presents industrial countries with a hitherto unknown problem that calls for a different approach to ageing. The standardised biography of the industrial age – education, work and retirement – and the spaces these command are steadily losing meaning, and the pact between the generations has to be negotiated anew. Employment patterns and age limits are becoming more varied and flexible. Retirement and withdrawal from society or the active pensioner no longer provide the Leitbilder for ageing. Ageing is becoming an autonomous phase of life defined by new patterns of activity, varied lifestyles, reciprocal aid and self help.

Ageing is a process that will have an increasing influence on the development of cities. Urban planning, architecture and design have, in this respect, a significant contribution to make. The experimental design and research project “Cultures and Architectures of Ageing” initiated in 2005 therefore aims – moving beyond age-based homes and negative stereotypes of ageing – to develop design parameters that support the cultural reorientation of ageing. In doing so, the project aims to develop planning parameters for the urban environments of ageing that reclaim modernity, attractiveness and public visibility for older people.

The first phase of the project saw the development of “Geropolis 2030”, a prototype of an “ageing city” of the future, providing town planning scenarios for the city on a quarter-based level. Six visionary designs were created, which all contribute to a revaluation and cultural recognition of ageing, and which aim to support independent and selfdetermined lives well into old age: “Hotel Urbanism”, “Liberal Landscape”, “ExperienceCampus”, “Club House and Suburban Biotopes”, “Village in the City”, “Leisure Mall”, concentrate on particular aspects of ageing in knowledge and information societies.

This year, the studies and evaluations will be continued and scenarios and existing models will be further developed. Selected findings will be shown and presented in a conference and published in the Edition Bauhaus.