Old people, especially when they are alone, face a terrible dilemma. On the one hand, there are inescapable forces pushes them toward independence: their children move away; the neighborhood changes; their friends and wives and husbands die. On the other hand, by the very nature of aging, old people become dependent on simple conveniences, simple connections to society about them.


Build small cottages specifically for old people. Build some of them on the land of larger houses, for a grandparent; build other on individual lots, much smaller than ordinary lots. In all cases, place these cottage at ground level, right on the street, where people are walking by, and close to neighborhood services and common land.

… we have explained, in Old People Everywhere (40), that it is essential to have a balanced number of old people in every neighborhood, partly centered around a communal place, but largely strung out among the other houses of the neighborhood. This pattern now defines the nature of the houses for old people in more detail: both those which are a part of clusters and those which are tucked, autonomously, between the larger houses. As we shall see, it seems desirable that every family should have a cottage like this, attached to it - The Family (75). Like Rooms to Rent (153) and Teenager’s Cottage (154), this cottage can be rented out or used for other purposes in time of trouble.

Perhaps the most important part of an old age cottage is the front porch and front door bench outside the door, right on the street - Private Terrace on the Street (140), Front Door Bench (242); for the rest, arrange the cottage pretty much according to the layout of any House for One Person (78); make provisions for Settled Work (156); and give the cottage a Street Windows (164). And for the shape of the cottage start with The Shape of Indoor Space (191) and Structure Follows Social Spaces (205)

Reference for full-text of Pattern: p. 729high-confidence