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Managed Lifestyles: Sustaining age-restricted communities within retirement-living developments

Clark, Sam ORCID: 2019. Managed Lifestyles: Sustaining age-restricted communities within retirement-living developments. Presented at: British Society of Gerontology 48th Annual Conference 2019, University of Liverpool, 10-12 July 2019.

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This paper draws from doctoral work that presented and interpreted the stories of nine actors involved in the design, construction, management and inhabitation of third-age housing in the UK[1]. The study integrated original storytelling with architectural survey, analysis and design techniques; bringing together the social science practice of participant observation with architectural post-occupancy evaluation of an industry product (the ‘retirement chalet’). This practice-led research – sponsored by a national property developer of private, age-restricted housing – foregrounds ‘designerly’ modes of inquiry, resulting in design-relevant feedback for those involved in the production of retirement-living environments. The paper references two research stories – Resident Owner and Chalet Manager – which represent multiple informants ‘found’ during short residencies, involving the researcher staying overnight at retirement chalets and engaging in the social life of the shared lounge, as a form of cultural immersion. Resident Owner highlights how older UK consumers lack exposure to high quality housing and are committed to making their purchases work; reporting an enthusiasm for the social architecture, over-and-above the physical environment. While Chalet Manager portrays the central role staff play in the promotion and maintenance of this social architecture; ‘untapped’ experts in the lived-experiences of the products they share with customers. It highlights grey areas with respect to customer expectations and customer care, as well as the challenges presented by ageing cohorts of resident owners with ambitions to reshape their chalet environments.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Lecture)
Status: Published
Schools: Architecture
Date of Acceptance: 28 March 2019
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2022 07:09

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