Shu Zhang

Document Type

Thesis, Senior




Spring 5-2021


Public Space, Wuwei, China, Social, intergenerational, collectivism, culture, sociology




Architectural History and Criticism | Architecture | Civic and Community Engagement | Human Ecology


Within our lifetime, we will see an increase in the aging of the population in China, and the social isolation of the elderly is occurring every day. Simultaneously, more and more young people migrate to large cities, while older family members stay in their home towns to ease the younger generation's burden. The once collectivist family culture has been destroyed, and the daily life of the elderly without their relatives has become monotonous and lonely. Moreover, with the advancement of technology, the younger generation is increasingly dependent on smartphones for social interaction and life, which increases the possibility of the elderly being isolated from daily life. Nevertheless, when designing a nursing home or retirement community, one usually imagines a building or a community that is full of the elderly. Apart from the occasional visit to their families, the community is closed to everyone, and it is difficult for them to get out. This kind of traditional architectural design for the elderly currently lacks interactions and supports between different generations, which are making the social isolation situation of the elderly worse. This thesis supports the exploration of reshaping meaningful public space, which could attract both the elderly and younger generations(especially children) to interact with each other through different life scenarios of different generations of people. This project is located in Wuwei, a small city in Gansu, China. This thesis aims to analyze and classify the typology of activity space for people of different generations and determine programs according to the needs of people of different ages. Primary research will be rooted in the design of a day's activities for people across generations. The study first established a time-line of the day's activities for people across generations. Through this study, I learned about the living needs and space needs of different people and studied the overlap and combination of activities and space of people of different generations. Therefore, a series of prototypes of different spaces are classified and summarized, and user experience analysis is carried out. The next step is to combine the space according to people's needs and test the design's feasibility in the actual location. In this way, Neo-Collectivism, a new and different form of family Collectivism, is established among strangers, thus alleviating the problem of social isolation of the elderly.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.