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How Covid-19 will end “big box” senior living

Courtesy Our Village of Hope
Minka means "house of the people" in Japanese.
  • Lila MacLellan
By Lila MacLellan

Quartz at Work reporter

Published Last updated on

The Village of Hope, a new model for senior living, is scheduled to open in central Pennsylvania by next summer. It will be populated by elegant, minimalist 3D-printed smart homes called Minka houses, created by noted geriatrician Bill Thomas.

Thomas’s Minka houses are not merely architectural solutions: They’re central to a philosophy that integrates seniors within a community rather than segregating them within a facility. Nearly 20 years ago, Thomas conceived of the paradigm-shifting, much-lauded Green House Project—a movement that has driven the creation of smaller, more homelike nursing homes, in which residents of 10 or 12 people share a communal kitchen and living “hearth.” The Minka houses, by contrast, are designed as small standalone houses of 300 to 600 square feet, to accommodate one or two people. But both are rooted in the idea that people of any age and ability thrive in real communities.

Thomas calls his latest idea MAGIC: Multi-ability, multi-generational integrated communities. And he sees it as part of a new set of values forming about how and where older people choose to live.

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