Sometimes, we think of housing as simply a place to just hang our hat, but it can be so much more. What if housing played a key role in elevating personal well-being and such options were available for people of all ages and stages and income levels? What would this look like?
I believe it starts with an intentional physical blueprint as well as an intentional culture to help bring out the best in each person. Physical design elements, such as spacious and well-located common spaces, can help promote social connection. Universal design features and state-of-the-art fitness centers in a walkable location can help improve physical health. Resident-led programming and greater connectivity to each other can help people feel a greater sense of pride and security in their community. Greater ties to resources in the local community – often facilitated by some onsite staff – can also elevate purpose (see my three minute fast pitch talk at the 2016 Encore Conference on the opportunities to create communities of purpose). If thoughtfully and efficiently conceived, such an environment can be fiscally wise, too.
With so many changes and advances in our culture, this is an exciting time to rethink the role of housing. It can become a foundation for personal well-being and have an impact on all of us ranging grandparents to empty nesters to young families to young couples to singles. As my grandfather, Ace, would often pen to me, this is an exciting time to be alive.