Date of Award
Master in Interior Architecture [Adaptive Reuse]
Loneliness is part of a constellation of social, emotional and health outcomes for the elderly which collectively form one of the greatest public health issue worldwide. Various factors, such as losing connections with family and friends, and economic issues contribute to social isolation for the elderly, leading directly into the growing problem of “lonely death.” Lonely death describes the phenomenon of bodies discovered days, weeks, even months after death. It is possible to address this social problem almost entirely via architectural means, working within existing infrastructure of cities.
This thesis proposes a scattered elderly community within selected Boston MBTA Orange Line stations. The target group is made up of elderly Bostonians who live by themselves and have relative low income levels compared to the state poverty line, who have lived their entire lives in the city and do not wish to move into conventional elderly communities. These elderly live within 1000 meters of select Orange Line Metro stations and would like to continue using the metro line in their daily lives. Using existing infrastructure, a network is created to either connect stations to surrounded context by offering help from the elderly to assist other generations in various ways, for example, in Assembly station, a babysitting program is provided by the elderly to help parents who come shopping, based on the distinct shopping network around; or bring the surrounded communities into the station to enable communications among mixed generations, for example, a clinic workshop is proposed in Forest Hill Station to make up the lack of healthcare in that area at the same time, bring more people in. To propose hybrid architecture for each station, and flexible boundaries and buffer zones in-between the interior and the adjacent urban area, which enables the indoor space to merge into outdoors; this elderly community will engender a feeling of inclusivity and a sense of belonging between elder participants and community members by providing each with an incentive to spend time with the other; also between elder participants and the society by providing a space with connectivity instead of isolation. Thus, eventually, help the elderly fulfill their later lives and reconnect back to society.
Lee, Hyun Kyu and Zhou, Menghan, "Preventing lonely death" (2018). Masters Theses. 236.
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