Every day, it seems, the suburbs are become less and less appealing. We already know that young singles and couples are flooding into denser environments like downtown Toronto, and now it appears that even Baby Boomers and seniors are joining the urban revival. A new survey commissioned by Harmony Village, a new Barrie-area multi-storey mixed-use development (designed by RAW Design/The Planning Partnership with Diamond Schmitt Architects) reveals that 85% of Canadians 60+ want to downgrade to an "urban village environment with convenient amenities."

Harmony Village condos, Barrie Ontario, RAW Design/The Planning PartnershipRendering of Harmony Village, image courtesy of RAW Design/The Planning Partnership

The survey indicates that developers are increasingly going to need to build total communities, rather than simply residences. More than exercise rooms and swimming pools, future amenities will need to include opportunities for social life and leisure within the local region, and convenient healthcare options.

Jack Pong, CEO of City Core Developments—the developer behind Harmony Village—says that it's vital to identify the needs of seniors as they move into the next phase of their lives. "Seniors are interested in being closer to urban communities, they want more services... whether it's a library or health and wellness." He also emphasized the importance of the social element as people get to retirement age, in particular "social interaction with like-minded people," which is an area that Harmony Village is focusing on by building seniors-specific residential areas. Pong agreed that these new wants and needs are a part of the larger contemporary return to urban areas by young individuals, families, and companies.

Survey Highlights Include:

  • 76% of boomers/seniors believe an independent lifestyle is very important as they enter the retirement stage of their lives.
  • 81% of boomers/seniors believe easily accessible amenities, such as grocery stores, restaurants, drug stores and more are important.
  • 65% finds there are limited options available to them for this type of community living.

Harmony Village is currently being designed with the survey results in mind. Visit the UrbanToronto dataBase page for the project below to get a look at the architectural competition entries. Want to talk about the project? Leave a comment here, or join the conversation in the associated Forum threads linked below.