The Challenge:

A lack of opportunities for people to regularly interact with people in other generations, i.e., intergenerational interaction, perpetuates the generational discord and ageism that are endemic to society.

The Principle:

We shall create living environments that facilitate engagement across all generations, for their mutual benefit and the continued contribution to society by people of all ages. This familiarity will also serve to combat ageist stereotypes.

Watch Related Video

Virtual Dialogue 5: Facilitate Intergenerational Engagement
January 14, 2021

Featured Speakers:

  • Donna Butts,  Executive Director, Generations United
  • Dr. Emi Kiyota, Founder and Director, Ibasho
  • Dr. Bill Thomas, Lifesprk Independence Officer; Cofounder, ChangingAging (Moderator)
  • Stephanie Firestone, Senior Strategic Policy Advisor, Health & Age-friendly Communities, AARP (Host) 
  • Esther Greenhouse, Built Environment Strategist and Environmental Gerontologist; and Strategic Director, TC Age Friendly Center for Excellence (Introductory Remarks) 


The Nuclear Family Was a Mistake

An article in The Atlantic by David Brooks discussing the impact of the nuclear family on American society and vice versa.  “Over the past two generations, the physical space separating nuclear families has widened....lawns have grown more expansive and porch life has declined, creating a buffer of space that separates the house and family from anyone else. As Mandy Len Catron recently noted in The Atlantic, married people are less likely to visit parents and siblings, and less inclined to help them do chores or offer emotional support. A code of family self-sufficiency prevails: Mom, Dad, and the kids are on their own, with a barrier around their island home.”

Dove, C. (2020). Radical Housing: Designing Multi-generational and Co-living Housing for All. United Kingdom: RIBA Publishing.

Radical Housing explores the planning, technical, financial, health-based and social background for developing multi-generational homes and co-living. Abundantly illustrated with case studies and plans from projects across the UK and abroad, this book informs and inspires the delivery of alternative approaches to affordable and flexible housing, and is an essential text for architecture practitioners, students, and community groups.

Kern, L. (2020). Feminist City: Claiming Space in a Man-Made World. United States: Verso Books.

In Feminist City, through history, personal experience and popular culture Leslie Kern exposes what is hidden in plain sight: the social inequalities built into our cities, homes, and neighborhoods. Kern offers an alternative vision of the feminist city. 

Sánchez, M., Thang, L. L., Hoffman, J. (2020). Intergenerational Contact Zones: Place-based Strategies for Promoting Social Inclusion and Belonging. United Kingdom: Taylor & Francis.

This book introduces novel ways of thinking, planning, and designing intergenerationally enriched environments. Filled with vivid examples of how ICZs breathe new life into communities and social practices, this important volume focuses on practical descriptions of ways in which practitioners and researchers could translate and infuse the notion of ICZ into their work.

Real Black Grandmothers

A site is dedicated to telling Black grandmothers’ stories and sharing their wisdom and powerful impact


Ibasho partners with groups that are interested in creating communities aligned with Ibashos values and provides flexible services to meet the needs of clients, ranging from consultations, assembling teams of experts, to project development and training of operators and caregivers. 

Generations United

 A nonprofit leader focused on improving the lives of children, youth, and older people through intergenerational collaboration, public policies, and programs for the enduring benefit of all.

Generations of Hope

Generations of Hope brings together partners and advisors from a range of disciplines including architecture, finance, human services, and academia to advance the model of intentional intergenerational living, and to support new intentional neighboring” initiatives.


 “Homesharing made simple” a program founded by Wendi Burkhardt that matches homeowners with persons who would like to rent a room in their home.  It is a means of providing income and companionship for older adult homeowners and a vehicle for providing affordable housing for anyone.

Red Cloud Renewable

 A program to address climate change within the Wiconi Community within the Pine Ridge Reservation, led by Lakota Elder Henry Red Cloud. 

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For more information about AARP's Equity by Design work, contact: 
Stephanie K. Firestone
, Senior Strategic Policy Advisor for Health and Age-Friendly Communites, AARP International.