Food for Thought

Recently read an article in the Globe and Mail, about housing and seniors in Vancouver. The article talks about the coming crunch in senior housing. A colleague of mine, Patrick Condon at UBC states there will be a 250-per-cent increase in people over 65 living in the city of Vancouver, and then discusses the critical need for new housing units and the type of proposed new developments.

The missing link is the cooperative model. Just as this model is seldom taught in business schools across the country, it is not seriously considered in planning. I lived cooperatively as a poor undergraduate student and loved it—the access to different people cooking each night, the exposure to different values and diverse ways of living. Seniors need enhanced social interaction and opportunities to connect, not less as they age, so why not live cooperatively?

 We have just released a video on sense of place, thanks to my dear colleague, Rob Newell and the students from RRU’s School of Communications, look at how vibrant the images are and how connected people seem to their places.

 We know it is more cost effective and for their health to keep seniors in their homes and neighbourhoods as long as possible, so why not live more cooperatively at this stage in life? I truly believe as I get older that life is quite simply about relationships and love, then doesn’t it simply make sense, that at certain stages of our development, we need relationships more, and social capital. Bowling Alone, published in 2000, argued that joining and participating in one ‘group’ cuts in half your odds of dying next year with a group defined as an sort of collective activity shared with others.


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