Grow old gracefully at SPARK's Home Farm alternative retirement concept in Singapore
Retirement housing continually crops up in industry discussion as an area that needs focus and development, with many purpose-built communities for the older generations lacking the facilities required to keep the mind and body stimulated and, in turn, functioning at optimum capacity. This is issue has been touched upon in the past on WAN by AHMM’s Paul Monaghan and Walt Miller at JPA.
This latest offering from SPARK is a response to the current situation in Asia where the number of people aged 65 and above is estimated to grow by 314% by 2050. Taking Singapore as a focus point, the team at SPARK has devised a concept for a new type of retirement community which combines residential units with vertical urban farming to project a ‘powerful social message’.
A popular choice for families in Singapore is for the older generations to reside with their younger relatives but there has been a rise in non-traditional living arrangements. The Singapore Ministerial Committee on Ageing has released a vision for ‘Successful Ageing’ with which it promotes employment and financial security, active ageing, and holistic and affordable healthcare.
Home Farm, the newly-released concept by SPARK, provides potential solutions to multiple issues currently faced by the Singapore population: increased demand on social, infrastructural and economic systems by the growing number of elderly residents; and the need for a secure food supply. Residents of the flexible accommodation would be able to work part-time onsite, making use of the vertical aquaponic farming systems and rooftop soil planting.
SPARK Director Stephen Pimbley explains: “We designed this concept for Singapore but there is the potential for it to be applied in any location that would support the growth of leafy green vegetables on building facades and rooftops. We are keen to see this project materialise at some point in the future. The concept is a realisable solution to real and pressing problems faced by many of the world’s growing cities.”
The scheme would integrate rainwater collection for use in the vertical aquaponic system and plant waste would be used for energy production. It is hoped that further benefits besides the financial incentive for residents would be a community feel to the development, health benefits and the reduction in Singapore’s carbon footprint.