Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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The Urban Village: Proposing a new way of living that breaks away from generational segregation

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posted on 2022-09-17, 23:09 authored by West, Katherine

With New Zealand’s increasing senior population, the number of people struggling with mobility impairments is rising. Many people struggle with daily activities due to poor design of the built environment which limits access. Seniors with impairments are often housebound with few places they can access. They often cannot find someone to assist when needed, and struggle to maintain good mental health. Many students in New Zealand are also struggling with mental health. Lacking the life experience to make sense of their situation, many will carry these issues for life if not addressed and treated when younger. These two groups face similar struggles at a time where change and uncertainty make it hard for them to understand and adapt. This research explores how architecture can be accessible for all, facilitate intergenerational relationships and help improve wellbeing.

This thesis adopts a research through design strategy. Qualitative and experimental research is explored with findings used to inform the design brief and decisions. This process provides feedback and improvements throughout the design process. A series of design experiments and refinements follow. The research through design examines the potential for architecture and the important considerations for integrating generations.

The final design positively influences wellbeing, facilitating the development of relationships between seniors and tertiary students. Biophilic design principles supplement the objective and provides opportunity for nature exploration that many seniors struggle to access. The final design redefines how we might live and offers a new model for inclusive community space, softening the boundary between residential and institutional city spaces.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (Professional)

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

4 Experimental research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Wellington School of Architecture


McIntosh, Jacqueline