My parents are artists. They are also Japanese so it is no surprise that beautiful, simple design and aesthetics were emphasized in our upbringing. In fact, to this day we often hilariously quote my father when we see something ugly. “Why so uguri uguri?” he would ask. Haha. Yeah, my sentiments exactly. Why as we get older and we need more assistance, does the design often have to be so ugly and institutional looking? Why are nursing homes and other older adult living options so horrible (unless of course you are a multi-millionaire)? Well, it doesn’t and Share Kanazawa proves that senior living can be incredibly useful, community engaging, comfortable and aesthetically pleasing.
Share Kanazawa is a unique elder village nestled in the mountains of Kanazawa, Japan. I got a tour of their facilities and was beyond impressed not only by the physical design (which is beautiful) but also by their community planning – the way they thoughtfully laid out the village so that local community members would also use and engage with the facilities as well. There’s a restaurant, grocery store, convenience store, soccer stadium, massage, gift shop, kitchen studio for classes, jazz club, hot spring, alpacas (yes alpacas! You’ll find out why when you watch the video). No wonder why neighbors want to come and visit the village!
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Share Kanazawa (in Japanese only)
Studio L (English)
Japan Times article on Share Kanazawa (English)
CEO of studio-L, Social entrepreneur, Community Designer, Professor and Director of the department of Spatial Design in the Kyoto University of Art and Design, Vice President in RIPS, NPO.
Yamazaki was born in Aichi in 1973. After university, he worked in SEN, inc., where he developed his skills and knowledge of landscape design as well as social organization and relationship management.
He founded studio-L in 2005 and has continuously offered innovative solutions to local problems by inspiring and leading local communities. He advocates the importance of “Community Design” which he defined as the empowerment of locals through design. His major projects contain planning workshops, making comprehensive plans, and designing buildings and landscape for revitalizing the local area.
His published books include Community Design(2011), Social Design Atlas(2012), The era of Community Design(2012), Happiness theory for the local area(2012).
ABOUT SHARE KANAZAWA
Share Kanazawa is a community located outside of Kanazawa, Japan where elderly people, college students, people with chronic illnesses, people with disabilities live communally. Together they have created a tight knit local community as they connect and build relationships while fostering independence and well-being.