Housing for Generations - a Participatory and Needs-Based Approach to Housing for the Elderly.

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 10:45
Oral Presentation
Mara VERLIC, Caritas Wien, Austria
Katharina KIRSCH, Caritas Wien, Austria
Like many other European capitals Vienna is both a growing and an ageing city. The demand for housing is high, especially for housing that is both affordable and age-adequate for the elderly. In this context the older social housing stock in Vienna poses a particular challenge: while in these housing estates the demographic change is highly visible with large numbers of older residents, this old housing stock provides the least age adequate housing situations. The housing estates are in need for renovation and modernization when it comes to energy efficiency, thermal rehabilitation and accessibility for people with limited mobility. Furthermore they are also lacking important social features that affect older residents’ health and well-being like common rooms, accessible open spaces or high quality entrances and hallways. Resulting are neighborhoods with little communication and interaction amongst residents and low qualities of life especially regarding the needs of the elderly.

In this context the proposed contribution is based on a research and implementation project called “Smart Housing for Generations” conducted in Vienna by an interdisciplinary committee including researchers, social workers and non-profit housing constructors. The project aims at developing modernization plans for two Viennese housing complexes that were both built with public subsidies in the 1960-70s. The modernization plans encompass social as well as spatial and constructional aspects with a special emphasis on integrating the needs of the mainly older residents in a participatory way.

The contribution will explore potentials and challenges of a participatory and needs-based approach to creating housing for older people. We will discuss methods used for participation of residents, reflect on formats for communication between different stakeholder groups (housing constructors, residents, caregivers etc.) and present aspects of the resulting plans for modernizations in the housing estates.