BRIDGEing Generations

Homes that serve people across generations have probably been around since the days of cave dwellers. However, “multigenerational housing” in the contemporary U.S. seems to be on the rise, as indicated by homebuilder product lines, major media coverage (“Under One Roof, Building for Extended Families”) and even new real estate industry awards for homes where the in-laws can co-exist with their children and grandkids.

An American Society on Aging blog by expert Amy Goyer cites many factors behind the trend, including longer life expectancy, the housing crisis, recession effects and “boomerang” youth. Multigenerational living can offer financial and caregiving benefits (think babysitting and senior care), but there are other payoffs as well. “Families living in multigenerational homes have built-in opportunities to build stronger, mutually beneficial intergenerational relationships,” Goyer writes.

Armstrong Place, one of BRIDGE’s five completed or on-the-boards multigenerational projects, was honored in 2012 with a Global Award of Excellence from the Urban Land Institute. Located on one San Francisco city block, Armstrong Place includes rental apartments with support services for seniors and townhomes for first-time homebuyer families, plus common green space, community gardens and retail to encourage interaction.

With my own extended family ranging in age from seven months to 91 years, I am excited to see how these developments contribute to strengthening the fabric of the community.

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