It has been a privilege to have contributed to this significant project that will provide much-needed accommodation for seniors in the Illawarra. The development of the concept with the IRT team has been a rewarding journey.
The proposed character of the village is a reflection of the relaxed lifestyle favoured by the wider Kanahooka and Dapto community as it is anticipated that many of the residents will be drawn from the local area remaining close to family connections and maintaining existing networks.
The creation of small neighbourhoods forming precincts, that together combine to make the village, is an innovative approach responding to the future residents’ desire to belong to a community where there is support and social interaction. Meeting this objective has been considered in the smallest detail. The location of garbage enclosures avoids large garbage bins at each unit and encourages incidental interaction between residents. Open spaces at the end of the internal ‘streets’ provide space for residents to make their own mark on their immediate neighbourhood.
A core idea that evolved with this project is that ‘community’ does not solely reside in the residential recreation facility, typically called the Community Centre. This resonates with Edmiston Jones GBB’s approach to design which starts with the precept that ‘the solution may not be a building’. At the Kanahooka Village, pocket parks within each precinct will give the opportunity for communal activities, street parties, places for the grandchildren to play or for residents to sit and simply watch the passing parade.
A significant aspect of a senior living community is giving residents the choice of a smaller ‘footprint’ having typically moved from a larger family home. Having a contained and manageable independent living unit is particularly attractive if this is in the context of a variery of lifestyle activities.