Adding life to years
Text size:

Cohousing for Ageing Well


What are the options for older individuals wanting to ‘downsize’ in their current neighbourhood when their housing no longer suits their needs or when they wish to avoid living alone?
The City of Unley is leading the charge on a partnership project to test what housing options might be possible in response to the needs of older residents. A project focusing on new opportunities for existing housing brings together the Office for Ageing Well and State Planning Commission along with the Cities of Unley, Burnside, Prospect and Walkerville and the University of South Australia to undertake four detailed design studies.

The project will investigate how existing older houses in Adelaide might be altered and extended to create one or more additional dwellings on an existing site, to create socially cohesive co-housing arrangements for older residents wishing to age in place. This project, significant in its scope and broad in its application, will for the first time explore a major gap in housing opportunities – the ‘missing middle’ of Adelaide’s older suburbs.
A hypothetical example to help illustrate a possible scenario is the story of Ron. Ron has been a resident in Malvern for 46 years. His wife passed away last year, and although Ron doesn’t want to move, he finds it difficult to keep up with the maintenance of the large house and garden. Ron would like to share his property by building a small unit in the rear of his property, which he could rent to someone. This person could assist Ron with household duties and yard maintenance, and they may also share a meal regularly or work together on a vegetable patch. This scenario provides opportunity for both Ron and his new tenant, who may benefit from lower rent and the opportunity to become part of the community.

By examining options and potential for co-housing across standard house types and block sizes, a key outcome of this study is to inform the development of the new South Australian State Planning and Design Code. Dr Damian Madigan, Senior Lecturer in Architecture at The School of Art, Architecture and Design at UniSA, said the project will have far-reaching potential. ‘The timeliness of this work is significant, as it will help give voice to the needs of older residents during the ongoing infill housing investigations that form part of the Government’s new State Planning and Design Code consultations.’ayor Michael Hewitson said the project recognises that the outcomes will apply beyond the boundaries of any Council area. ‘We are delighted that the City of Unley was successful in securing an Age Friendly SA grant through the Office for Ageing Well, and that the collaboration is occurring across four Local Government areas,’ he said.

For further information please contact the Actve Ageing Project Officer at the City of Unley, South Australia Judith Lowe

Age-Friendly World