Theses Master's

Planning for the Unplanned Aging Community

Chao, Catherine

As Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCs) gain support as an aging-in-place approach to senior housing, it is important to consider the impact of existing building infrastructure on aging residents. By definition, NORCs are unplanned and undesigned. New York City and State define eligibility of NORC legislative designation to be a building or complex constructed with government assistance with a high concentration of seniors but not specifically built for seniors. While NORC social and health services provide unique assistance to these groups of seniors, the challenge of adapting the physical spaces of NORCs in order to assist aging are rarely discussed. This paper is a case study of a NORC identified within a New York City Housing Authority development and analyzes the benefits and challenges that “place” brings to both the residents and the service providers in an aging-in-place model. This qualitative approach seeks to collect experiences and perspectives of the daily life of NORC residents from both a neighborhood scale and a building scale in order to evaluate the aging experience within the embedded physical infrastructure and address the question, what is the level of need for physical improvements within this NORC context? Through its findings, this paper proposes a series of recommendations from multiple vantage points that addresses the issue at different scales, some involving holistic healthy aging.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Mian, Nadia A.
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
June 21, 2016