Existing Apartment Buildings as a Spatial Reserve for Assisted Living

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)



Ageing populations induce needs to adapt existing housing. With ageing, the number of frail old people, who require assistance in daily life, is also increased. Converting existing housing into assisted living enables them to remain in their community while receiving necessary support and care. The purpose is to investigate whether post-war mass housing is spatially appropriate for adaptation into group homes for older people.

The research material is attained from Finland. Spatial requirements for group homes are drawn from 130 units built or renovated during 2000–2015. Spatial characteristics of mass housing are mapped from 105 apartment buildings built in the 1970s. The latter are matched with the former by comparing the connectivity of layouts, sizes of units and the numbers and sizes of individual spaces.

Group homes typically utilize a linear layout, which can easily be created in apartment buildings. Individual spaces of a group home fit apartment buildings effortlessly. Whole group home units mostly prove to be spatially feasible but result in looser dimensioning than is typical in existing units. The mass housing stock can be considered a spatial reserve for adaptation into group homes.

This is the first study to employ a large-scale, multi-case spatial mapping approach to analyse the adaptability properties of mass housing into assisted living. The findings pertain primarily to the Finnish context, but a methodology is presented which can be applied to other countries and also to other spatial functions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)753-769
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2020
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • repurposing
  • adaptability
  • adaptive reuse
  • mass housing
  • population ageing

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1


Dive into the research topics of 'Existing Apartment Buildings as a Spatial Reserve for Assisted Living'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this