Victor Perez-Amado is an Assistant Professor at Ryerson University School of Urban and Regional Planning with training in architecture and urban design. Before joining Ryerson University, Perez-Amado worked at the University of Toronto as an Assistant Professor of Architecture and Urbanism. He holds a Master of Architecture and a Post Professional Master of Architecture in Urban Design from Harvard University Graduate School of Design, where he graduated with distinction.
His academic endeavours and research on aging-in-place, transformation of long-term care facilities, and multigenerational housing, including in LGBTQ2S communities, builds upon seven years of practice and built-work design experience. Perez-Amado’s involvement in some of these innovative senior living projects from concept to construction include: Lathrop Communities in Massachusetts USA, a masterplan and design for independent and assisted living residences with a focus on seniors with dementia and autism; The Lexington Brookhaven, long-term care and assisted living residences design; and the Boston Home-Harmon Apartments, Independent living residences for seniors with mental disabilities.
He is the recipient of numerous professional awards in housing design, including The Harvard Clifford Wong Prize for Housing Design (2014) for his research project “Reconciling the Everglades Edge: Proposal for new Floridian prototypical housing and Urban Schemes,” an American Institute of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Honor Award in collaboration (2012) for the Project “BaYou Commons: (Urban Land Institute, ULI) Gerald D. Hines, and an ASLA Colorado Professional Honor Award, Planning, and Analysis (2015) for the Project Multi Grid 69/70: The Spaces Between: An Urban Ideas Competition.
In recent years, Victor’s work has been published and exhibited in different publications including: The 2019 Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism, The 2014 Harvard University GSD exhibition Grounded Visionaries: Pedagogy + Practice, for his project: Reconciling the Everglades Edge: Prototypes for new Floridian Urban Schemes; the 2013: Buenos Aires Biennale: SAP: “South America Project” Exhibition for his project Story Trail: The Art of Walking based on Patagonia Hydroaysen Damns; and the 2013 Paisea: Landscape Architecture Magazine (Spain) for The Bend: Nashville Designing Action Competition among others.
Housing the Demographic Bookends: Understanding the Housing Needs of Toronto Aging Groups
Victor Perez-Amado, Ryerson University School of Urban And Regional Planning, Canada
By 2026 almost a quarter of the Canadian population will be over 65 years, which raises concerns about the future need for housing, services, and amenities in our cities. For the first time, there are more seniors in Toronto than people under 15, a trend that dramatically happened between 2011 and 2016, and a number that is projected to rise steadily in the next ten years and almost doubling by 2046.
Different map projections and demographic studies of Toronto show that predominantly single-family home areas will be mostly inhabited by people of 65 years and older in less than six years. And unless all these baby boomers move into large retirement communities, we need to rethink the composition of these neighbourhoods to accommodate aging-in-place.
This rethinking requires new forms of housing and interrelated services such as healthcare, lifestyle preferences, socialization opportunities, and transportation systems, which means that in the near future, housing has to be based on the concepts of aging-in-place and aging-in-communities. Aging-in-place is when a person makes a conscious decision of staying in the inhabitation of their choice for as long as they can; this includes supplementary services to facilitate their living conditions and maintain their quality of life. And aging-in-community means that a person can rotate from different facilities and housing types depending on their needs, preferably staying in their neighbourhood. These were the driving ideas explored in a three-year research design and experimentation project at Ryerson University in Canada, with a housing segmentation analysis conducted at the University of Texas, Dallas.
This study focuses on two neighbourhoods in the City of Toronto with the highest proportions of older adults. Our rationale is based on research calling for a neighbourhood-by-neighbourhood response to planning for older adults due to their diversity (i.e., built form, socio-demographics, transportation, land use) in large Canadian cities. Further, by focusing on a ‘Ward Boundary,’ this scale is politically useful as it is represented by a local decision-maker. This study also adds to the broad literature on aging-in-community because it examines macro and micro level push/pull factors in two localized contexts using a diverse combination of economic, spatial and design-based methods.
Specifically, this paper explores three macro-level push/pull factors that influence the ability to age-in-community as one’s needs for care and support change: (1) appropriate housing availability (through market cluster segmentation analysis and assessing ability to pay for retrofits); (2) transportation accessibility and (3) land use and zoning policies that dictate built forms and proximity to amenities. Finally, we end by proposing micro-level changes with a study of architectural and urban design scale retrofits that can also meaningfully impact an older adult’s ability to age-in-community.
Seniors are valuable and vulnerable populations that require unique and specialized housing and care options. This research project’s overall goal was to understand the needs of Toronto’s aging demographics and provide affordable and novel housing and city planning guidelines to municipal and development partners.