“The way we build and organise our Cities can help or hinder social Connection”.
—— Social Cities, Jane- Frances Kelly
For this project, I have focused my interest into interpersonal communication and immersive experience.
Of the former, I have been inspired to create spaces that are active and contribute to communication, which give visitors a comfortable environment.
Of the latter, I have explored the interaction and immersive space for people that celebrate memory and shared experience.

Age-Friendly Community

An aging population has become a common problem faced by many countries in the world, China is no exception, and it is becoming more and more serious.
Loneliness is a common negative state, which occurs when a person is subjectively isolated and alienated by others or society. It is one of the major factors that harm the physical and mental health, quality of life and even life span of the elderly.
This project aims to reduce loneliness, and improves the elderly's physical and mental health, quality of life and well-being through spatial practice. Specifically, creating an environment and facilities for communal gatherings that greatly promotes social connectivity of the elderly.

Site, User, Program

The Shanghai New Fu Kang Li Community is my site. Within this development, 46% of the population of the community is elderly. The main users are people aged between 60-90 years old currently living within the community.
After many site visits, observations and research, I proposed a series of activities that promote community connections to eliminate loneliness in the elderly population - it's convenient, economical, quick, and feasible. With this in mind, I design these three programs, Memory Area, Cycle of Life, and Animal Kingdom.

Memory Area (Listening Stations)

Memory Area, which celebrates shared memories as design elements.
Within this Memory space, different diameter cylinders are suspended from the ceiling -they are the listening stations. Users stroll through the space, and the listening station plays whenever users pass directly under the listening station. What’s more, intelligent identification devices in the listening station will identify the user at the same time, capture his / her voice, and convert the audio to the user’s voice. These listening stations play audios randomly. All the audios are about hawking of peddlers in old Shanghai from 1930s to 1950s.

Memory Area (Intelligent Image Sensor Screens)

I set up some intelligent image sensor screens along the wall of several columns. When people pass by, his / her face will be captured, so an amazing scene will immediately appear. An image of a person’s life and work scene in 1930s to 1950s with his / her face will display on the wall.
These images and audio recordings evoke the common memories and resonance of the elderly, making them excited and happy, and letting them share their happy memories with others. This will effectively promote these lonely old people to communicate with each other and help them keep relationships, rebuild and maintain social connectedness.

Cycle of Life

Cycle of Life, old people plant and grow flowers and vegetables here.
Green and plants mean health and life. They make the elderly have a new perspective and revived perspective on life, so that they feel rejuvenated and grow, just as the plant they are feeding does too.
The elderly can plant different flowers, vegetables or fruits in different flower pots according to their preferences and seasons. They grow plants together, communicate with each other or learn planting skills. This creates conditions for communal gatherings and inspires elderly people to communicate with each other and expand social connectedness. They show off their harvest to each other and share the joy of harvest.

Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom is both a space for pet lovers and a place to relax.
Users can happily play with their pets at the Animal Kingdom. There are some facilities for pets to have fun. The stools can be used for users to sit and rest, but also for pets to climb up and down to play.All in all, the Animal Kingdom provides a communal gathering space for pet lovers, so that users have the opportunity to exchange their experience of raising pets, meeting other pets and their owners, which greatly promotes social connectedness.
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