Why real estate design planning needs re-orientation to bridge cultural separation & foster intergenerational relationships?


By BENNETT FERNANDES, Marketing & Brand Head, Duville Estates

This thing called emotion and how society needs it so desperately in these times of uncertainty and physical separation

While COVID-19 has brought about serious thinking in how residential and commercial spaces need to be re-designed and while there are those who prophesize the rise of a certain pedigree of conscious mixed development, there is scant thought or probably not even thinking being invested into how families that have been separated by this pandemic can be living in a pre-meditated physical proximity.

In a few depth interviews, there has been one singular strain that has continuously been precipitated and that is of the sacrifice that the elders must put up with and the pain that the children must endure during this separation which is unduly harsh and leaves very embittered feelings.

Heterogenous living within a community enclave?

An unprecedented scenario is what has supposedly brought about the debate as to whether millennials are better off in homes branded with a noveau or an offbeat streak? This resurrects the debate as to whether designing and planning of apartment sizes and the overall product offering can possibly become relevant and cater to multiple age groups and can there be a larger homogenous group living within the same community campus while not necessarily living within the same building.

The necessity of harmonious confluence – disparate demographics – consideration criterion

From an overarching macro context, given the level of oversupply in the market, it becomes critical to understand the possibilities and whether in a struggling economic context whether it helps to position,promote and harbor the confluence of intergenerational relationships.

One understanding is such that of nuclear families increasingly witnessing the preservation of familial relationships given the situation of millennials being increasingly time impoverished.

Yet another vital scenario that needs to be examined is that of senior citizen’s health and their inter-dependence on their children given the importance of the Indian cultural relationship paradigm.

And yet another parameter to be closely evaluated is that of the millennials rushed lives which doesn’t really allow the necessary amount of required time that they ought to be spending with their parents. IN a very moralistic manner and to be possibly inducing guilt, there is a bare quantum of time that should be spent with parents who are growing older and their need for companionship amidst a progressive deterioration of physical and mental health is felt so intensely.

Raison – Purpose – Commercial Sense?

Having laid the context, let’s now interrogate to inquire as to where we are in the need to actually spur this kind of developmental need. We should begin with a deeper reason, a fulfilling purpose. Needless-to-say the need for commercial viability is of paramount importance. Leaning on purpose, an important truism in the intergenerational relationship paradigm is that relationships deeply affect people’s physical and mental health—including the older relationships with the younger generations. To borrow from an experiment led by George Vaillant, a psychiatrist who led a similar study found that those in middle age or older who invest in nurturing the next generation were three times as likely to be happy as those who fail to do so. “Biology flows downhill,” he said.

Symbiotic relationships & being mutually beneficial

Intergenerational friendships provide huge benefits to young people, too. In one of the most famous longitudinal studies on the resilience of children, it was found that some kids thrive under adversity and others do not. When we examine success stories within the country, it is any wonder how many successes have been forged from adversity.

It was also found that the children who faced great adversity but thrived were those who had the support of one caregiver—often a grandparent or an older member of the community. “Children who succeeded against the odds had the opportunity to establish, early on, a close bond with at least one competent, emotionally stable person who was sensitive to their needs,” the study notes. “Much of this nurturing came from substitute caregivers, such as grandparents, older siblings, aunts, and uncles. Given the Indian relationship paradigm, this serves well to foster such relationships and raise resilient children.

Our World, this planet, its people and profits

While it is rumored that residential development in some parts of the country has its net revenue %ages in single digits, there is also evidence to suggest that with adequate stimulus from the government and the starting point is lower stamp duty rates being able to ignite momentum in demand and bring this to purchase fulfillment. There are other stimulus factors

There is no argument that the question of the hour is how do we even function amidst this kind of disruption? To begin with, the answer is a ‘longer-term mindset that is consistent’.

While under a severe repressed business climate and in order to function in a more conservative and risk-averse dimension, risk adjustment would be the obvious norm but this is exactly where one needs to not react impulsively irrespective of the current pressures. And this is where tunnel vision come in.

The business will be driven by those who adopt the code of the futurists. Those who can look into the future with a view on stabilizing the present. Theirs will be a practiced craft in the midst of scarcity. There will be new drivers emanating that will work to the strength of those that can look past immediate thrift. The decision making will be less biased and less influenced in the terms of the absolute short term but move into the mid-term and long-term with a view to continuously inject corrective measures.

A Higher Indifference Curve – Plotting the progressive rise of a child’s dependability on anelder

“Every child needs at least one adult who is irrationally crazy about him or her”.This was ostensibly so truthfully spoken without any form of constraint by Freedman who also cited the child psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner saying that “Friendships between the young and old are also a natural fit”. Older generations have the time and the love to give. Younger ones are very much in need of both. Parents meanwhile, are often bereft of time, and in search of any support they can get. I feel that this so beautifully explains the not-so-well-understood bond between one’s ‘DADA’ and ‘DADI’, ‘NANA’ and ‘NANI’.

Cohesive Living & Self-Sufficiency within a micro-township

So, it’s no discovery in pointing out that generations have never been as stratified as they are now. Parents, children and grandparents used to live and work together. That has changed quite dramatically, with family structures changing, millennials moving out earlier for both, education as well as job representing increased migration from one city to the other.

Meanwhile, the absolute phenomenon that is burgeoning is that of older people living longer, retirement communities gaining ground and increasingly growing, representing a lot of opportunity. Clearly, retirement communities are a necessity with so many adult children living far from their parents.

But the upshot is that there are few structures that bring together generations. Interestingly, the two largest groups in society who report being loneliest are the younger ones and the older ones.

Design opportunity & alliances borne out of human need

But the real opportunity lies in the knowing that an ageing population is not just associated with experience and wisdom, but with higher health-care costs, sickness, and loneliness. And this is where a complete re-orientation of planning of healthcare facilities, recreation facilities, hospitality and consumption facilities represents a massive changing paradigm. This is a time for a set of strategic alliances with brands who have a reputation for keeping promises. This is only possible when the intent is clear, a brand whose vision is spelt out in black and white and when the fulfilment of promise is never compromised. And this has to be communicated with a feverish passion across every layer of customer interface with the unequivocal strain of a deep-seated belief.

And this is best enunciated within a micro township where there is a premeditated mix of senior living facilities which also entertain the much-required intergenerational friendship.

There is so much that is made off generation gap and the impossibility of how two different generations can collude and not collide. This is best understood by children when they become parents and how they effortlessly attempt to bridge the divide. I can’t help but borrow from a beautiful phrase by Dolly who stated “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.”

 Corporate Comm India (CCI Newswire)