Kay is the director of CRESA and has undertaken extensive research into housing markets, housing demand, retirement villages, accessible housing, sustainable housing, the residential building industry and neighbourhood built environments. She is currently leading the Architecture of Decision-making funded by the Building Better Homes Towns and Cities National Science Challenge, a research programme concerned with the tools and logics different parts of the sector use when making housing and planning decisions. Kay is also Team Leader for a second programme under BBHTC looking at revitalising the production of housing affordable to low income families and part of the research team working on building and design solutions for the Building Solutions for Affordable, Functional Housing in Ageing Communities project. She is currently undertaking work for the Commission for Financial Capability exploring the Interface between Older People’s Residential Care and the Retirement Village Sector and part of the research team on Building Solutions for Affordable, Functional Housing in Ageing Changing Communities. In 2018 Kay was made a Member of the NZ Order of Merit for Services to Older People’s Research and Housing Research. She is currently appointed to the Ministry Advisory Group on Housing and Urban Development, is a member of the Office for Senior Citizens’ Independent Advisory Group Reviewing the Positive Ageing Strategy and is a Trustee for the Marlborough Sustainable Housing Trust.
Tenure and age-friendly environments
Kay Saville-Smith, Centre for Research, Evaluation and Social Assessment (CRESA) Ltd
Age-friendly environments are often conceived of in terms of their physical dimensions or in terms of the density of social relations surrounding older people in their daily lives. Less attention has been given to the impact of tenure for age friendliness. New Zealand’s transformation from a homeownership to a rental society has, along with the structural ageing of its population, made it imperative that we give attention to the age friendliness of different tenures.
This paper compares the housing conditions and well-being of older renters and owner occupiers. It then considers the extent to which intermediate tenures, in particular licences to occupy found within New Zealand’s retirement village sector generates age-friendly environments within our towns and cities. This paper draws on research undertaken within: firstly, New Zealand’s Ageing Well National Science Challenge, a five year programme around seniors and life when renting; secondly, monitoring research commissioned by New Zealand’s Retirement Commissioner and the Commission for Financial Capability in its role as monitor of retirement village performance; and, finally, the five-yearly New Zealand House Condition Survey.
This paper offers opportunities to discuss the impacts on age friendly environments of:
- The interface between housing stock, social networks and housing markets; and
- Pathways to generating age friendly housing solutions for seniors in a changing policy and market environment.
It also raises issues about how we understand and respond to developing age-friendly environments for seniors of the future compared to the seniors of today.
In addition to the empirical data presented in this paper, the paper has two messages around age-friendly environments:
- Age-friendly environments are embedded in built and social infrastructures, but we must give attention to housing tenure as a determinant of age-friendliness.
- The future for seniors of the future may be very different from the conditions confronting seniors of today – age friendly environments need to be pursued for both.