Realizing Innovative Senior Housing Practices in the U.S.

Authored by: Deirdre Pfeiffer , Ashlee Tziganuk , Scott Cloutier , Julia Colbert , Gracie Strasser

The Routledge Handbook of Housing Policy and Planning

Print publication date:  July  2019
Online publication date:  July  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138188433
eBook ISBN: 9781315642338
Adobe ISBN:


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Innovative methods for housing seniors have long existed. Two approaches discussed often are cohousing and accessory dwelling units (ADUs). Cohousing and ADUs are more prevalent in Denmark and Canada, respectively, than in the U.S. U.S. housing planners, policymakers, and advocates have long expressed interest in adapting and scaling up these approaches. However, few cohousing communities or ADUs have been built for seniors in the U.S. This chapter draws on semi-structured interviews with 22 U.S., Danish, and Canadian housing practitioners and experts on seniors to explore the challenges of meeting seniors’ housing needs through cohousing and ADUs in the U.S. and to understand how the challenges can be overcome. Findings show the numerous potential benefits innovative senior housing can have on seniors’ physical, social, and financial accessibility. However, barriers such as regulations and financing provide challenges and opportunities for innovative senior housing. This chapter concludes with a set of lessons learned and next steps for meeting seniors’ needs through cohousing and ADUs in the U.S. Furthermore, this chapter moves the conversation from visioning to implementation, showing how housing advocates can play a vital role in aiding seniors’ housing needs.

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