Assisted living neighborhoods

april 2014
mei 2015

Liesbeth Longueville


Flanders Synergie, Flemish competency pool innovative labour organisation supports the partners as a sounding board

Assisted living neighborhoods

In Aalst, there are many new assisted living projects in the starting blocks, involving plans for both new housing units and new care facilities. This is the perfect opportunity to supplement these new neighbourhoods with the most innovative insights when it comes to caring for the elderly so that they can stay in their homes, and the areas they know and love, as long as possible.

Project objectives

This project is investigating the opportunities that are created when you consider a neighbourhood as an integrated whole. We are sure that this can provide benefits in terms of affordability, efficiency and quality of care for the elderly. The organisation of efficient care at a neighbourhood level enables individuals to remain in their homes for longer. A ‘neighbourhood’ comprises around 3,000 residents, 20% of whom have care needs. The objective of the project is to create a professional and well-organised network of care services, within the residential setting, both in terms of spatial planning and practicalities. For this ecosystem encompassing housing and care components, the project is seeking a profitable business model and the best spatial planning arrangements. We see an assisted living neighbourhood as a living and care environment that combines care functions, housing, nature and recreation. The elderly can use extra, specialised medical care, prevention and services, modified stores and services, adapted housing units, special recreational facilities and additional accommodation. Other generations can also feel at home here and can put the exceptional facilities and the smart neighbourhood plan to good use. An assisted living neighbourhood thus becomes a future-focussed model for every new residential area where residents of all ages can feel sure that, as and when they need it, they will be able to engage efficient care services according to their specific needs. An assisted living neighbourhood is a planning concept, a vision of a neighbourhood, with a well-thought-through material infrastructure for living and care, a smart and well-coordinated care organisation, and a strong mix of housing and care. This project is seeking a framework for development in a neighbourhood for the long term, which permits the embedding of new-build structures, sensible conversions, good care initiatives, efficient process organisation, pleasant social contacts and so on…

Research questions

This project intends to formulate an answer to the following four research questions:

  • Which combination of elements must (at least) be present for a successful Assisted Living Neighbourhood?
  • Can you develop a profitable business model for an affordable Assisted Living Neighbourhood?
  • What is the best spatial plan for the Assisted Living Neighbourhood, taking the efficient and innovative organisation of care into account?
  • What is required in order for the residents of an Assisted Living Neighbourhood to understand the advantages thereof and to want to use them?


The project will start with an analysis of the existing solutions at home and abroad, with input from the scientific consortium and intensive surveys of the test population and user committee within the experimental area. On the basis of iterative co-creation with the residents, care providers and other actors, the project will develop various schools of thought in scenarios in order to resolve the four research questions. Within these scenarios, progress will be built upon the principles of an innovative labour organisation. The test population will get to work on testing the scenarios. On the one hand, and where possible, this will involve real testing and experiments in sections of neighbourhoods that already exist and, on the other, will draw information from focus meetings and related techniques. The necessary attention will be paid to the affordability of the various schools of thought. The findings will then be amalgamated and translated into a framework and specifications on the basis of which the development of Assisted Living Neighbourhoods can begin.