Deane Simpson “Gerontopias/Copenhagens”
Thursday 7 March
Population (at least in the western world) is getting older: life expectancy has increased consistently over the last decades, and the proportion of people aged 65+ keeps to increase. This has not only effects on society in terms of welfare system and economy, but it impacts also urban planning and forms of socialization. Dean Simpson, architect and urbanist, analyzed new forms of social collectivities that concern aged people, and that go beyond the dominant models of family and workplaces. New forms of urbanism emerge, expressed in retirement villages The Villages of Florida and Costa del Sol, Spain, basically versions of Disney World for the third age. These residencies for old people are places for consumption where entertaining activities are planned on a tight schedule, to fight the threat of boredom, seen as a fatal danger because associated with mortality. With the logic of theme parks, these places are characterized by artificial ‘old towns’ that reflect a constructed narrative. Time and space are designed through specific urban design and construction of narratives. Urbanism is designed through the logic of entertainment.
Deane Simpson is a graduate of The School of Architecture and Planning. He completed a MArch at Columbia University and worked for Diller + Scoffidio for roughly a decade. He completed a PhD, entitled Third age urbanism: retirement utopias of the young-old in 2010 at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and currently lectures at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art, Copenhagen