DESIGN FOR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IN INTER-GENERATIONAL LIVING
Today, the United States is facing an obesity crisis. The majority of adults and 43% of elementary school children are overweight. (Active Design 2010) Obesity is second only to tobacco as a cause of premature death. (Active Design, 2010) In addition to diet and other factors, the built environment is a major contributor to the obesity epidemic. (National Center for Bicycling and Walking, 2002) Unfortunately, many built environments support sedentary activity, rather than promoting active lifestyles. This reflects poorly on designers, who are responsible to support the health, safety and welfare of those who inhabit their designed spaces. Studies have shown that people with active lifestyles live longer, healthier, and happier. (US Dept. of Health, 2008) Rather than compromising health through designing for sedentary occupation, designers must learn how to support the physical needs of those for whom they design.
The goal of this study is to understand what types of design strategies can be integrated into the built environment to support healthy, active lifestyles. In particular, this review will attempt to understand what strategies are appropriate for different age groups. Literature review and precedent studies will contribute to a framework that will inform design that promotes active lifestyles for people of all ages. This framework will then be applied through design of an intergenerational living project in Seattle, Washington. By providing individuals with age-appropriate infrastructure to support active lifestyles, designers will be able to fulfill their professional responsibility to support the health, safety and welfare of those they serve.