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‘The open typology’: Towards socially sustainable architectural and care types


One aspect that characterises the twenty-first century is its accomplishments such as better health-care systems, improved economies, a reduction in infant mortality and a growing number of adults living longer. However, these accomplishments can have a downside. For example, people are living longer while at the same time dementia rates are increasing significantly. With the increase in demand for high-dependency-related services, while at the same time costs are spiralling possibly out of control of societal budgets, there is a need for a shift in the care model. Additionally, difficulties in defining a clear dividing line between normal ageing and pathological ageing have led to a stigmatisation of older adults as a social and economic burden. This type of segregation and stigmatisation must be addressed to ensure future care delivery is inclusive. The positive benefits of an inclusive care system are both social and economic, and at an individual level it can positively impact upon an older adult’s mental and physical well-being. Taking this into consideration, the aim of this paper is to describe and empirically explore Humanitas© in Deventer, the Netherlands, a nursing home with a population of 50 older adults with dementia, 80 people with severe physical suffering, 20 people with social difficulties, 10 people in short stay for recovery and 6 university students. This analysis will be adopted as a ‘tool’ for the definition of a new way of conceiving architectural types in contemporary culture, based on the concept of an ‘open system’ described by Richard Sennett. In this study, an open system is able to promote a new paradigm of care built upon inclusive collaboration and teamwork between different categories of health-care providers, volunteers, residents and their families. This will allow an alternative paradigm of older adults’ long-term care and its architectural correlate to ‘normalise’ ageing and its related mental and physical impairments, rather than to ‘medicalise’ and stigmatise.


Landi, D., & Everett, G. (2019). ‘The open typology’: Towards socially sustainable architectural and care types. Architecture_MPS, 16(1),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 25, 2019
Publication Date 2019-02
Deposit Date Mar 8, 2020
Journal Architecture_MPS
Electronic ISSN 2050-9006
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 16
Issue 1
Public URL
Publisher URL