Doing more with more

I've been spending some late nights the last few days working on a financial model for an unusually large project in South Florida. At this very early stage almost nothing is known for certain, least of all the construction costs which amount to 60-70% of the overall costs. 

The way I begin to clarify this significant gray area is to build a program (basically a list of all the spaces in a building and their associated areas). On the scale of this particular project, there is room for a lot of amenity spaces. It's great fun to think about what interesting or fun spaces to put in a new community.

With all that space I could address dining options, physical fitness, art studios, education, quiet meditation, spiritual spaces, medical care, banking, a business center... all things that empirically enhance seniors's lives. But that all felt very routine. Not special.

What I want to do with 'more' is something that ensures these seniors will actually BE better, not just feel better. So this particular project is going to shift slightly to focus on one thing that even scientific journals say that the aging population lacks. This is going to be a community that focuses on putting social interactions - deliberate or casual - at the forefront of its model. We are going to make this project supportive of  health in all dimensions. I admit that until recently I had no idea of a) the prevalence of depression among otherwise healthy seniors and b) the gigantic impact social encounters have on that depression.

This big building could very easily become a cavern where seniors become reclusive and anonymous. But I want to see it - even at scale - become a place where senior, perhaps even seniors that don't live there can engage with one another. That's doing more with more.