Intergenerational space refers to the physical space and the environment that are designed to be conducive for intergenerational engagements to take place.

Intergenerational spaces reside in both our homes and the public realm. These are shared communal areas that accommodate all ages and a wide range of activities. Children, youths, and older adults would be able to make connections with each other through scheduled programmes or spontaneous encounters.

Intergenerational Contact Zones (ICZs)

An ICZ is defined as a spatial focal point for different generations to meet, interact, build relationships, and, if desired, work together to address issues of local concern.1

e.g. hawker centres, void decks, corridors, parks, and community centres

3-Generation (3G) Facilities

3G is a concept that describes the notion of bringing multiple generations together. Facilities can involve arrangement in public housing or the co-location of childcare and eldercare facilities. 

e.g. playgrounds and fitness corners, child-care centres, and active ageing hubs

Environmental Design

Although the design of the built infrastructure shapes the way we interact and socialise, and the way we commute and cross paths in our everyday lives, the design of the environment in which these contacts take place is equally crucial. 

For intergenerational dialogue to flow more readily, there must be an environment where generations can integrate seamlessly. There must be space conducive for engagements; design that integrates and not segregates different generations in the same space; and programmes and policies that aim at breaking institutional isolation in favour of dialogues across the generations.2

Dr Leng Leng Thang
Assoc. Prof. of the Department of Japanese Studies (NUS)


for Designing Intergenerational Programme Environments3

1. Sense of Welcome

Convey a sense of welcome for all who enter and use the setting.

2. Be Inclusive

Organise spaces to counter social isolation but not violate people’s need for privacy. ​

3. Be Mindful

Avoid stereotypical cues that convey negative inferences about people of a certain age group.

4. Encourage Decision-Making

Empower participants in making decisions about the uses of space.

5. Inventive Play

Incorporate the arts (music, drama, visual arts, etc.) and opportunities for inventive play as a means of mental stimulation and social engagement.

[1] Kaplan, Matthew, et al. “An Introduction to Intergenerational Contact Zones.” The Pennsylvania State University, 2019, pp. 1–5,

[2] Urban Redevelopment Agency (URA). Designing an Intergenerational City. 16 July 2018,

[3] Larkin, Elizabeth, et al. “Designing Brain Healthy Environments for Intergenerational Programs Designing Brain Healthy Environments.” Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, vol. 8, no. 2, 2010, pp. 161–76, doi:10.1080/15350771003741956.

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