Loneliness Preventive Design: A design guidebook to prevent loneliness with community living

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Examensarbete för masterexamen
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2021
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Baas, Arnaud
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The race for independence is blinding us. The world's population is rising and densifying however humans are more individualist than ever. The effect on society can already be seen, around 80% of people under 18 years old and 40% of those over 65 years old reported feeling lonely at least sometimes. After all, as humans, we are striving for a sense of belonging and connectedness for survival. Loneliness is a social phenomenon that might afflict any of us in life. In parallel, there is a growing interest in community-led housing with solutions as co-housing or co-living. These are about community living and therefore common interaction. This thesis is drawing a line between loneliness and community living and develops a design guidebook for enhancing social interactions and a sense of belonging in housing. The preliminary research on loneliness and community living revealed theoretical intervention methods to prevent loneliness and crucial elements to consider when designing for community living. All the learnings are constantly considered from an architect's perspective. The studied projects come from different countries, in and outside Europe. Nevertheless, the Swedish context is important to consider as it is the European country most threatened by loneliness. Through literature and case studies, design strategies are extracted. They are the parameters that need to be addressed in projects aiming to prevent loneliness. They are tested by being attributed to test spaces which are the design components. These components are elaborated by turning standard common places in buildings into social hubs encouraging interactions. They are exemplary spatial prototypes reflected on separately and then all synthesized within a design proposal. It is an implementation example where the building is developed from the combination of some components. The proposal is meant to be a testbed for the components to see how the components can work together. This guidebook is meant to be a source of inspiration for architects and planners but also future communities. As Bowes defended, "dwellings become more compact, the implications on lifestyle must be considered" so preventing loneliness by the design of community housing is a solution that needs to be explored
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