Project Details

Passyunk Square is a vibrant multigenerational community embracing elderly residents "aging-in-place." My project--Passyunk Square Cares--implements simple and basic livability streetscape improvements around Passyunk Square to better accommodate elderly residents that walk to buy groceries, to church, and to visit with neighbors; for example, permanently installed "cane" poles along crosswalks and at bus stops that can be leaned on while waiting for the light to change or bus arrivals, and permanent hooks for bags at key resting points.

Victoria Gilbert's Biography


Project Update

publicworkshopFebruary 2016
After experiencing some unanticipated barriers to her original idea, Victoria has shifted the focus of her project from sidewalk canes to creative seating for older adults. In collaboration with Public Workshop, Victoria will install street furniture that are designed to accommodate elderly residents.

This new direction was inspired by the work of Alex Gilliam, director of the Department of Making & Doing. In December, Alex and his team constructed playful benches for youth in a north Philadelphia neighborhood. The benches were designed and built by local youth with the support of the Department of Making & Doing.

Victoria explains how Alex's approach can be used to create a truly multi-generational project:

"Improvements for elderly are the same that benefit the very young — they still need places to sit in between long blocks, they need better views to oncoming traffic, they enjoy simple entertainment, they need activation and street level activity during 9-5 working hours. Additionally, my own conversations and observations of my older neighbors shows that social support helps them age in place just as much as physical installations. Many older residents live alone; their interactions with neighbors, passerby on the street, and kids give them a social outlet. Some older residents enjoy sitting on the benches surrounding the fenced-in playground area both because these are some of the only benches available in the park, and because they can watch and interact with the kids and their families. The K880 studio and my subsequent reflections have made me truly appreciate the concept of designing for under age 8 and over age 80."

Photo: Public Workshop

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