The Peterborough and Northumberland region has an increasing number of seniors who are in need of attainable, affordable housing. Seniors make up a large proportion of the region’s population and that percentage is growing. The region has little affordable housing, however, an existing models of seniors housing may be alienating and isolating for residents.
The Seniors and inter-generational purpose-driven housing Solutions Lab will explore the values, needs and lived experiences of seniors. It will examine the benefits of various housing styles and purpose-driven programming to inform a new affordable housing model. This purpose-driven housing model will promote social inclusion and a sense of pride and purpose among the region’s urban and rural seniors.
3 Key Goals
Uncover housing designs and programming that contribute to resident wellbeing and sense of purpose, and address affordability issues for seniors.
Create a purpose-driven housing model that is unique to the values, experiences and behaviours of the region’s seniors.
Investigate the benefits and possibilities of a Hub concept that provides a social, economic and sharing purpose space for users.
Project scope and expected outcomes
Positive contributions to resident wellbeing
Vacancies and access to affordable housing in the Peterborough and Northumberland region are very low. Seniors are particularly vulnerable to this situation, as they are at the greatest risk of being low income once they retire. This is especially true for senior women. Ageism, social isolation and health and mobility issues all present additional challenges for seniors.
This Lab will explore housing designs and programming that can address these issues and positively contribute to resident wellbeing. This includes options for newcomers, who may help reinvigorate the local economy, and integrate more fully through purpose-driven housing. Understanding the values and experiences of seniors and newcomers, however, is crucial for creating a model that meets their needs.
The benefits and possibilities of a Hub concept will also be explored. The Hub could foster a sense of community and offer residents opportunities for mentorship, learning, volunteering and employment. The Hub also would support seniors in participatory activities to enrich their lives and share their knowledge and skills. In turn, the Hub and residents are involved in activities that benefit the economy and wellbeing of their entire community.
Engaging end-users, service providers and community members
The Lab will explore the benefits of potential inter-generational housing styles. Uses for the Hub will also be investigated by engaging with potential users and community members.
The Lab will directly engage end-users, service providers and community members through workbooks, participatory research activities and interviews. The values, needs and lived experiences of seniors are particularly important.
The Lab will occur over 5 phases:
- The Definition Phase will define the scope of the project and refine the problem statement. It will also confirm the engagement strategy for partner organizations and participants. Partner agreements, a research summary, a draft newsletter format, a media release and an issue statement will all be created.
- The Discovery Phase will help deepen the collective understanding of issues, system, challenges and opportunities for senior housing. It will include desk research and interviews with system providers to identify regional gaps and issues around housing for seniors. Seniors and newcomers who may be interested in participating in the project activities will also be identified.
- The Development Phase will distribute workbooks to residents in Cobourg and Peterborough. Participants will give their views in the workbooks and indicate their ideas for building design and hub inclusion. Urban and rural perspectives will help identify what is needed when envisioning a new housing model for seniors
- The Prototype and Test Phase will develop preliminary prototype models from the workbooks and interviews conducted in previous phases. These will be tested with Lab participants during virtual focus groups to evaluate and refine them. The goal is to seek feedback, determine feasibility and develop consensus on potential solutions for rural and urban areas.
- The Roadmap Phase will detail the value and benefits of urban and rural solutions. It will present priorities, including services and the uses of hub space. A timeframe for implementation will be outlined, including the responsible organizations and potential funding requirements.
The basis of future demonstrations
The Community Training and Development Centre for Innovation (CTDC) will distribute quarterly Lab newsletters through its website and social media. These newsletters will outline updates, key learnings, next steps and results, including potential designs and Hub components. A toolkit will compile information gathered from workbooks and interviews to indicate how the prototype was developed. This will be made available online and will form the basis of future demonstrations.
Other products of the Lab include presentations or documentation given to city councils, seniors groups and other interest groups. Information will also be shared with MPPs, MPs and councils for policy assessment. Sharing of ideas and material through local media and CTDC’s social media will broaden the Lab’s reach. A final report for local government also will be created that includes a section comparing and contrasting urban and rural needs.
Project Team: The Community Training and Development Centre for Innovation
Location: Peterborough and Northumberland, Ontario
- Kim Rudd (Member of Parliament)
- Habitat for Humanity (Northumberland and Peterborough)
- Northumberland County—Housing Services
- City of Peterborough and Peterborough Housing
- The Mount Community Centre
- Nogojwanong Friendship Centre
- Community Care Peterborough and Northumberland
- Western University
- Settlement Services—Northumberland
- Together Design Lab, Ryerson University
Get More Information:
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website to learn more about the Innovation initiatives under the National Housing Strategy.