One of the biggest forces we’ll face in the twenty-first century is the ongoing shift of populations towards our city centres.
Many baby boomers have become accustomed to apartment living and may choose to stay there at retirement age, resulting in an increased need for vertical retirement options in our cities.
The need for on-site amenity will likely reduce as a result – placing more reliance on, and increasing the demand for, the things that our urban centres should offer the elderly.
Access to large sites and the benefit of large floor plates, which are generally needed for traditional retirement options, will become increasingly difficult, resulting in a shift in the way we think about creating a cohesive community, and how we operate buildings.
Just as apartment developers have in the past, retirement villages will grapple with the issue of creating someone’s home, in which their residents feel a sense of individuality, ownership and community, while adopting multi-storey construction methods.
Buildings will not only become more bespoke – responding to the tighter constraints of individual sites – but also greener.
Consumers’ perceptions and expectations of environmental sustainability will affect how we build our buildings, as well as occupy them.
This is of heightened concern for a generation who are mindful of the challenges ahead for their grandchildren.
The tastes and attitudes of the baby boom generation will be a driver of change, too.
They grew up with Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones, not Chubby Checker and Buddy Holly; they’re bolder and won’t settle for the dowdy status quo of brown sofas and beige walls.
Baby boomer retirees will be looking for contemporary and high-quality places to live.
Their homes will need to meet their needs but also be financially viable, encouraging operators to explore ways of delivering the amenity, community, care and security that residents expect – within a housing market which is strained to achieve affordability.