26th Jul 2016
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Would you retire in a high-density home?
Would you retire in a high-density home?

A Singapore-based architect says Australia should explore high-density housing to accommodate its rapidly rising ageing population.

Addressing the country’s architecture industry at Design Speaks: Housing Futures last week, Stephen Pimbley highlighted Australia’s need to change attitudes around retirement housing models, particularly to ensure that retirees remain connected to the community and amenities.

The Sparks Architects director discussed his vision for ‘Home Farm’, a high-rise retirement village in the centre of Singapore, which will have its own self-sustaining fruit and vegetable farm growing vertically on the outside of the buildings. The concept is focused on keeping retirees within urban centres, rather than forcing them out to low-amenity fringe areas, and providing facilities specific to their needs.

Image: Sparks Architects

“Home Farm is about changing the perception of aged-care living and not making it folksy and remote from the rest of the community,” Mr Pimbley says. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re in Asia or in the UK, you’re usually faced with horrible institutionalisation for older people and they’re segregated away from the community they used to live in.

“Home Farm is about providing certain things [for] people in their retirement to make them feel a lot more secure and make them alert and try to combat things like Alzheimer’s.”

While Mr Pimbley’s plan is expected to get the green light in Singapore, the idea of high-rise apartment living may be a little tougher for Australians to swallow.

Research shows that we still favour the suburban house model, with older Australians statistically reluctant to adopt apartment living. The 2011 Census found that 94 per cent of Australians aged 65 and over still lived in private suburban dwellings.
However, with the strain of urban sprawl, population expansion and reduced housing affordability, developments must cater for this changing landscape.

Development advocacy group The Urban Taskforce says Government policy reforms and more ‘senior-friendly’ housing options could help to streamline the downsizing process for retirees.

“It is clear that there is a gulf between what many seniors want and what is available in the present marketplace,” says Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson. “This dearth of appealing housing stock seems to stem, in some cases, from a lack of innovation and flexibility in terms of development, planning and design.

“State and local government[s] could do more to promote senior-friendly housing products in planning and ageing strategies by encouraging more areas of higher density and age-friendly accommodation around transport hubs and town centres.”

What do you think? Would you live in a high-rise development with amenities suited for retirement needs, or do you prefer the traditional suburban home? Does this idea sound like a viable solution in Australia?

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    COMMENTS

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    poorwomanme
    27th Jul 2016
    9:52am
    Obviously this architect has never heard of the slum high rise's that were in Redfern. A social disaster that only a fool would consider again.
    There's seldom an original idea merely a rehash of what happened in history and if history teaches us anything, it is never to repeat it but man being the fool he is, needs to find that out the hard way.
    Rosy
    27th Jul 2016
    10:13am
    An interesting concept but unlikely to have big up-take in Australia I think.
    For one thing, we have grown up with the suburban house being the "dream" plus, we have one of the highest dog ownership statistics in the world so, do we just dump our dogs to go into somebody else's idea of where we should live?
    Sorry, I'm keeping my dog and although I might down-size, I will still have my dog.
    Lynda
    27th Jul 2016
    10:35am
    I think home farm is an excellent idea. If the Netherlands successful models were used. That is not only restricted to the aged but to a broad range of people. I have enclosed a link
    http://www.lvcw.nl/teksten/Cohousing%20in%20the%20Netherlands%20-%20as%20presentated%20at%20the%20Summit.pdf
    This article explains cohousing in detail and the success it has enjoyed since the 60's and 70's
    Lynda
    Happy cyclist
    27th Jul 2016
    10:39am
    I would definitely live in such a complex as long as it was built really well and the apartments were spacious and had good soundproofing. Just because high rise accommodation has had some dismal failures in the past does not mean that it can't be done right. If anyone can do it right it will be Singapore -- but I'm afraid I'm not so sure about here. But if it could be done well here -- I'm in.
    Kaz
    27th Jul 2016
    1:22pm
    I agree - we will be over looking after a big yard and would be happy in an apartment - but pets need to be considered given that they are positive for good health and wellbeing
    Anonymous
    27th Jul 2016
    1:30pm
    I agree, they need to be sound proof, spacious (not a crummy little bedsit) and not too big, the complex in the picture is far too big which then has a tendency to get disorganised and end up more like the Redfern disaster. Asians are more used to living on top of each other, but it could work here if done properly
    Oars
    4th Aug 2016
    9:38pm
    I agree that Asian live on top of each other. I inspected a 3 bedroom inner city flat in 1990, where about 20 young "students" lived. They even had a bunk in the laundry- probably to keep an eye on the washing. Who would be the strata title manager- another you-beaut- public servant- with flexi days when it suits him/her : The thought gives me the creeps. The eskimos have a great idea. I,m off North when my time comes- Arctica !!!
    Chris_58
    27th Jul 2016
    10:54am
    I think its a pretty good idea BUT I dont like the idea of being 'fully serviced'. Most people like to look after their own habitat - or I certainly would anyway. Its the way of the future......
    Magnolia
    27th Jul 2016
    11:03am
    Whilst this is a more acceptable way of living in Singapore and most Asian countries, this concept may seem beyond an Australian way of "retiring". There are some of course that may not have the equity to downsize or even have their own home. Sadly, as we age there will be this dilemma as we are staying alive a lot longer! So - to make it sustainable and affordable, we may have to actually consider some of these concepts in order to care for those less fortunate that are able to contribute in some way to have a decent life.It does not necessarily mean build massive buildings that house 400 or so people - create communities - balanced by actual contributions tenants can give. There is an opportunity for those " retirees" to continue to help and assist create industry within these villages with all their knowledge and labour experiences that can support the environment they are living in without having the government to full sustain it - Don't write off "old people" - they are still wanting to survive. Redfern was a Government disaster fed and bred on welfare- no planning of utilising these tenants.Similarly this was also out west. A community where all can build and benefit from their efforts is more rewarding than just sitting in front of the TV or at the pub. These days there are activity regimes that get people up and moving. Transitional housing has in some areas already proved to be quite successful, but there are not that many. It is a need for a secure environment to avoid the depression and related diseases which are born from inactivity, isolation and loneliness. Surely in this day and age, there can be some thought put here without the recipients being cashed up hugely. There have been a lot of disadvantaged people for whatever reasons throughout the years, but I am sure they are just as passionate to live out their lives happily without worrying where their next meal or conversation will be from.
    Oars
    4th Aug 2016
    9:43pm
    Great idea- but one major flaw. Local Councils would have to actually PLAN -not just say NO to anything new. The need for REAL PLANNERS is long past- so get that underway- maybe get a planner with overseas experience in such matters- and sack the rest. That will save about $ 2 Billion in wasted wages- so they can look for a job overseas, seeing they all cry out for updating their education (at ratepayers' expense)
    Oars
    5th Aug 2016
    9:19am
    So THAT is why these local council officers are so depressed- you mentioned ISOLATION, INACTIVITY, and LONELINESS- yep that's it. Depressed planners.
    old fart
    27th Jul 2016
    11:08am
    I'm not trying to be negative here but we are creatures of habit, reluctant to change regardless of financial status (94% of people over 65 still live in residential housing)
    Its all about a sense of well being ( home is his castle etc )

    This might well work in Singapore which has a totally different culture but no here, not in our generation
    ex PS
    1st Aug 2016
    3:47pm
    I can't believe I am saying this, but I agree with Old fart on this one.
    Golden Oldie
    27th Jul 2016
    11:26am
    Who is going to build this high rise housing? What about the large number of people who are currently homeless and living on the steet or in cars. Obviously the Housing Commission is not doing its job in providing public housing at a reasonable cost, and they have waiting lists that are 10 to 15 year long. Obviously the elderly are not able to sell their 3 bedtoom house on a nice block to the homeless, so that they can pay inflated prices for high rise living. Current retirement villages are expensive in the city, a 1 or 2 bedroom unit cost as much as a 3 bedroom house on land, in most cases the land is not included in the retirement unit.
    rtrish
    27th Jul 2016
    11:27am
    If it's well designed, has adequate sound reduction, and has enough room for my adult child to stay when visiting, I think I might like it very much.
    Jacka
    27th Jul 2016
    11:40am
    To me it seems a great concept. High rise living excellent, central location excellent, farm concept interesting. I could definitely see myself in such a complex. With regard to a previous comment on Redfern, well some people will never succeed or flourish in any environment as proven over many years, no matter how much tax payer money is thrown at them. Cheers Jacka.
    jackie
    27th Jul 2016
    11:54am
    Jacka...Maybe it's because people such as yourself haven't given them a go. Have you worked in a detention centre by any chance? It wouldn't surprise me.
    Gra
    28th Jul 2016
    11:28am
    @ jackie, have you seen what happens when they are given a go? I have. I have seen families given new homes and within weeks those homes are destroyed. When you live across the street from them and hear walls being smashed, windows being broken and see kids playing chasey and then shooting water from a garden hose into the living room trying to squirt other kids, you wonder just what can be done to help them. Jackie, maybe you would like to enlighten us on just what you would do to "Give them a chance".
    Radish
    29th Jul 2016
    8:47pm
    I would not knock it before I saw it. Could be the answer for a lot of people.
    fish head
    27th Jul 2016
    11:40am
    As someone who in their salad days lived in unit blocks this idea is totally repugnant. As a nation we are not accustomed to being lumped into one large pile. The outcome is very dependent on what sort of neighbours you have. If they are totally inconsiderate ones or ones with serious mental issues it can be hell on wheels. I need my space or I get very scratchy. Short of developing a siege mentality and rarely venturing beyond one's door, where in the world are you going to find and peace, tranquility or privacy? I know some people chose to retire to a unit but it has no appeal to me. Not even having to maintain(??) a garden is an attraction.
    jackie
    27th Jul 2016
    11:46am
    Don't forget ridiculous annual Body Corporate fees.
    jackie
    27th Jul 2016
    11:44am
    It would be great if it looked like that in the picture with the surrounding landscape and parks. That won’t happen here because we do everything on the cheap for mass profit. The units will be made with the poorest quality materials from China. They will be so small and stifling. They won’t be sound proof, insulated, lack energy efficient power. The units will sell for $2 million each and will look like a slum within 5 years. If you can afford them you would be better off retiring overseas where properties are cheaper.
    PlanB
    27th Jul 2016
    12:29pm
    Yes you are so right jackie, all high rise end up as slums

    Sounds like Agenda 21 = Sustainable Development to me -- look it up
    Anonymous
    27th Jul 2016
    6:41pm
    typical comments of jackie and planb, as usual very negative, would not be able to save themselves if their pants were on fire, would refuse the firebrigade's assistance just in case the water supplied was too cold for their liking
    Needy not Greedy
    27th Jul 2016
    8:34pm
    Aw come on Jackie, your torpedoing the governments plan to use up all the thousands of sheets of Chinese asbestos riddled paneling they are pulling out of new hospitals, office blocks and appartments all over Australia.
    PlanB
    28th Jul 2016
    11:44am
    heemskerk, I once again tell you I am far from a negative person, maybe unless I had to contend with person such as YOURSELF and I am sure that would try anyone's patience
    Oars
    4th Aug 2016
    9:48pm
    Jackie- you are right-retiring overseas- so that overseas can take up more of the top properties here, and leave them vacant till their brats come to use our cheap education. The shuttle is on already- watch the inner city units after 9.00pm- most are all dark. Mind you they may go to bed early in their native country's time Joke !!!
    SKRAPI
    27th Jul 2016
    11:44am
    One prob. I see immediately is the upper floors & excess to re. AMBULANCES /Drs. I remember when I put Husband in 1 { Ibroke my arm } ea. time neighbour drov me to visit there were 2 or 3 Ambulances picking people up. Mostly falls . No it wasn't a big home only 2 stories & 80-120 people fluctuating . Some of these people didn't have fall probs. My husband being 1 He had Dementia.
    Not Senile Yet!
    27th Jul 2016
    11:49am
    They do not need to build them.....they are already there in Melb. The high rise flats...currently being used to house migrants and yes families!
    Find them appropriate housing with a back yard for the kids.....vacate them...then renovate and upgrade them by installing fences and security systems!
    As they are inner city units....most have access to medical centres and are walking distance to shops and transport. INCREASED PARKING FOR VISITORS.....Install disability showers etc....most are 2 bedroof to accomplish visitors/grandchildren....add a children's playground....and a pets park..
    Easily accessed by train for relatives to Visit....close to all facilities plus libraries.
    Do not have to build new ones.....just fix the ones already there.....and allow older people to buy them by exempting them from Stamp Duty and charges!
    The access to Theatres and inner Parks plus transport would make it attractive!
    bebby
    27th Jul 2016
    3:52pm
    Great idea, however, how about our older people and the homeless who have no chance of living close to amenities given priority to rent them, not necessarily having to purchase.
    PlanB
    27th Jul 2016
    12:14pm
    I would HATE it -- give me some space to swing a cat no immediate neighbours -- I could quite easy live in a lighthouse
    Anonymous
    27th Jul 2016
    7:22pm
    planb, let me put it in an other way, who would like to live with a negative and unsociable uncouth person like you, as for you living in a lighthouse, poor sailors relying on your service, hopefully it is on automatic control, as for swinging a cat, it just shows your attitude to your civil upbringing.
    PlanB
    28th Jul 2016
    7:01am
    heemskerk, I am not negative,
    I just know what going on and in store UNLIKE you it seems, as I said look up Agenda 21 and Sustainable development.

    Just because I don't mind my own company -- and yes I have lots of friends and love them but also enjoy my own company ------->

    Often if one doesn't enjoy their own company it is because they don't like the person they are alone with.
    Jacka
    27th Jul 2016
    12:21pm
    Yes Jackie, you are a ray of sunshine and positivity, not, such negativity and yet you seem to know so much, how much such apartments would cost, what their made of, the body corp. fees, such knowledge. Do you think it would be possible to share with myself and other participants tonight's Gold Lotto numbers, I'm sure it's not beyond you. Cheers Jacka.
    Swinging voter
    27th Jul 2016
    12:40pm
    I could comfortably reside in such a development provided for purchase by retirees. Older people are mostly quiet, courteous, non-partying and good neighbours. I do know people who have retired into apartments but are bothered by noisy neighbours belting out loud music through thin walls and people clomping around on timber floors on the above apartment. Where dogs have been permitted, yap yap yap all day and when occupy adjoining balconies, the toxic racket spoils the lives of quiet living people in surrounding apartments. So I think strictly enforced regulations would be important and if so, I could quite happily live in that secure environment and leave the maintenance and worries of a house.
    sunny
    27th Jul 2016
    1:38pm
    Yes I would, if they built these complexes maybe 5 high at best. Space for animals would be necessary. As its been mentioned, the aged residents are quiet, neighbourly, and don't party, go to bed early, sounds like the place where we live now! No problems.
    Cooky
    27th Jul 2016
    4:17pm
    HaHa, are YOU going to "Climb up the side of the wall" to get to your Vegie garden?
    If you are Physically incapacitated how do YOU get to the ground floor to go and "sit outside in the Garden" ? You are "Stuck Inside" looking at 4 Walls all the time. Not ME Mate
    vincent
    27th Jul 2016
    7:37pm
    Lynda you got be yoking, why do you think I left the Netherlands. Bloody highrise buildings. I was lucky that I lived on a boat but for most people in the west it was a highrise and on a waitinglist for a rental as well. Not for me and give me Australia warts and all.
    Mindy
    27th Jul 2016
    7:47pm
    Fantastic idea. I am mid-60s and 5 years ago moved to an apartment in a lift serviced complex with walking access to shops, restaurants, banks and bars.

    Leave anytime you want to travel, just lock up and go - only need 1 car. Lots of good friends in the complex, can drop in for a coffee or a beer anytime.

    Why would anyone want to live in suburbia?
    Oars
    6th Aug 2016
    7:55am
    The coffee will be too expensive as the shop owners have to pay for the high rental, the beer will be "Pantan" from asia- flat and made from polluted water- this will reduce the Oz population quick so that our Northern "cousins" move in and take over with pop-guns- no need for an army- they are here already taking up the unskilled jobs. HE HE he he -ugh ?
    Nan Norma
    27th Jul 2016
    10:00pm
    I suppose it could work if done proper. But what is wrong with the retirement villages. I know several people in those and they are all very happy. But I will also add that villages should be build closer shopping centres Etc.
    Franky
    27th Jul 2016
    10:27pm
    High rise apartment living has lots of advantages and those need to be sold to us! Singapore is for me the most livable city in the world, it's all about doing it right when it comes to planning. Have a look, take a trip there and see for yourself. Of course we would have to become more social and sensitive to others. The Chinese put the common good before the individual, whilst here it's the opposite. Some adjustment is needed but I think we would gain in happiness and contentment.
    PlanB
    29th Jul 2016
    4:38am
    Well Franky YOU go and live in Singapore, China has ruined it's water and air and care nothing about anything but MONEY
    Gra
    28th Jul 2016
    11:17am
    Soylent Green, here we come. No doubt there would be a discreet crematorium tucked away in one corner of this development.
    Mindy
    28th Jul 2016
    4:29pm
    I like Soylent Green. Very nutritious and relatively cheap.

    They sell it in Canberra at the Foodies market; frequented by pollies
    saf
    31st Jul 2016
    9:41am
    There r so many intellectually challenged people living on the streets. Bring back psychiatric hospitals for these poor people, but call them Care Centres or another name. The do gooders did them no favours having them closed. Many r not capable of self administrating their own drugs. Dont scoff at a mobile home solution the residents look after each other and have a friendly atmosphere. I wld do this before high rise.
    sunny
    31st Jul 2016
    4:38pm
    saf: I would like to re-introduce the "care homes" for intellectually challenged/homeless people. It would create massive employment, enabling the residents to still come and go as they please within the surroundings. Abolish the word Psychiatric or Mental Institutions &
    start afresh.
    Priscilla
    31st Jul 2016
    5:23pm
    Definitely not a viable proposition. Imagine the problems with lifts and maintenance. Recently saw a 100 year old invalid lady stuck in a high rise for days where the lifts would not work because they had been vandalised. Reminds me of the high rise flats in Girrawheen years ago, which were a social disaster.
    ex PS
    1st Aug 2016
    3:59pm
    Freedom of choice is the main factor, if an individual chooses to live like this so be it. But I would like to be assured that no one will be pressured into accepting this kind of life style.
    I doubt that the YUPIES and developers would be willing to release property in a desirable area for this project, or that accommodation in such areas would be affordable to the average retiree. Key to the success of such a project would be being able to provide accommodation in areas where retirees can live in comfort close to essential services and amenities.
    If you build it will they come?
    PlanB
    2nd Aug 2016
    8:08am
    Please look into Sustainable Development and Agenda 21 --some here but plenty on the net about it --

    https://www.google.com.au/search?q=Agenda+21+Australia&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-ab&gfe_rd=cr&ei=NMCfV-inOKfM8gfO-buADw
    PlanB
    5th Aug 2016
    9:34am
    Just take a look and aslo do more research on this for yourselves

    http://www.restoreaustralia.org.au/agenda-21-what-is-it/
    Priscilla
    14th Dec 2016
    7:42pm
    Totally impractical for elderly people! DEFINITELY NOT!


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