New town to be built in USA to house elderly

Just found out about this interesting project in Atlanta, where a partnership with the university will see an entire new town built to house the elderly.


A public-private partnership aims to solve the lack of housing suitable for the elderly by building an entire new town on the outskirts of Atlanta.

Not a retirement community as such, the 38,000 acre town will house residents who are still of working age but want homes that will still easy to live in as they age. The town will also include art spaces, public events, seasonal markets and even a 25-acre organic farm.

“There is no national model for what we are trying to create,” said Steve Nyegren, whose company Serenbe is running the project. “We wanted to be able to manage every aspect, the food chain, food labelling. We want people to not just know the farmers, but learn about packaging, distributing and marketing. Our landscaping will all be edible and our residents will have access to seasonal food.”

The community, called Mado, will provide 380 homes and has been created by a collaboration between Serenbe, Atlanta University and the city of Atlanta. Because there was no legal blueprint for creating a town from scratch, the university worked out a regulatory framework, while the city passed zoning and tax laws for Mado. The city is also responsible for connecting the town to utilities like water and electricity.

When completed, Mado will include townhouses, cottages and loft apartments that can all be easily retrofitted for an older generation. The homes will be built with step-free access, wide doorways, halls and staircases. Homes will cost between $300,000 and $800,000, and rental spaces will be available at $1,000 a month. The town will also sell plots of land for people to design and build their own houses. It will host an arts institute that will be funded by one percent of every home sold and three percent of any undeveloped land sold.

Coping with the specialist needs of an ageing population is a growing challenge for US cities. By 2050, an estimated 83.7 million people in the US will be over the age of 65, almost double 2012 figures. Ageing also brings an epidemic of isolation, exacerbated by bereavement. One recent study by the University of California, San Francisco showed that 43% of those surveyed admitted to feeling lonely on a regular basis.



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