Places, Porches, Relations, Publics

Learning from urban sociologist Ray Oldenberg's concept of "third places," PPRP offers a new model for a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) that fosters social interaction through a combination of public-facing porch interventions and network technologies. If “first place” is one’s home and “second place” is where one works, third places—like churches, parks, and cafes—are vital social hubs where one can encounter friends and acquaintances. The advent of the Internet has blurred these distinctions, creating an ever-shifting web of personal and permeable environments. This indifference to physical limits can foster more connection across generations but can also be divisive. If architecture is the material support for social exchange, this thesis revisits the porch as a third place that can mediate urban infrastructures and publics.

By 2030, millions of baby boomers will reach retirement age and decide to live in CCRCs. According to the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA), a CCRC is "an organization that offers a full range of housing, residential services, and healthcare in order to serve its older residents as their needs change over time.” More importantly, CCRCs offer gathering spaces to help build community among residents. Social interaction greatly improves the mental and physical health of seniors, especially as their personal networks transform. While newer CCRCs are equipped with the technology to meet seniors’ physiological and psychological needs, older facilities are due for an upgrade.

This thesis proposes to renovate Kingsley Manor Retirement Community in Los Angeles, California. A series of porches open up the historic campus to the surrounding neighborhood, creating third places for seniors to interface the public. The interventions bring more light and air into existing spaces, and digital communication technologies are embedded in each structure to enable remote interactions with family members. The networked porches in PPRP establish places for generations to come.

Faculty Advisor:
Cyrus Peñarroyo