What is necessary to live longer besides a better living space? Eat less and exercise more according to presenters at the New Aging conference held last Friday and Saturday at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design. The conference brought together a number of senior living architects and industry participants from across the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast and a variety of international locations such as China, Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom. The architecture conference, with over 200 attendees, had academics, architects and civilians explore ideas on the process of aging and how living spaces will be designed or redesigned to meet the needs of an aging global population.
Each presentation of the 20+ presenters skimmed the surface of their individual topics but provided enough food for thought to provoke further conversation in the break sessions after the presentations.
Mattias Hollowich , conference organizer and professor at UPenn School of Design stated, “We are on a journey together to the future of new aging. It’s an exciting time to bring minds together from both the world of architecture and academics to discuss aging. We are trying to open our minds to the possibilities of both science and architecture.”
The conference was a combination of lectures and workshops that discussed what seniors were looking for when it comes to living options in various product categories such as assisted living, nursing care, independent living and aging at home. A portion of the lecture series took on a more scientific and academic approach looking at advances in science through the concepts of cell regeneration, hormone therapy, genetic engineering and artificial intelligence. The presenters challenged the architects in the audience to think about how to design spaces if there is a rapid jump in life expectancy through science when an average lifespan may increase beyond 125 years old by 2050.
Other portions of the lectures and presentations took a more traditional approach to address senior living architecture and design and presented domestic and international ideas about living at home, independent living communities, nursing homes, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender (GLBT) communities. Choice and lifestyle were key characteristics in all of the projects presented by the architects and presenters stated that demands for choice were only expected to grow as Baby Boomers demand more options for senior housing in the coming years.