Since the Center on Halsted opened seven years ago, it has become a hub for Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood. A new 79-unit apartment building has now been built next door, furthering the Center's mission by providing LGBT-friendly housing for low-income seniors. While this housing project qualifies for Silver LEED rating, the more compelling story is its profound impact on the community. We focused on three scales of influence: environment, neighborhood, and personal well-being.
From the beginning of the design process, the community was invited to participate - ensuring that we designed with a clear understanding of how the project could support them. We held community workshops, participants helped to assess their unique needs, and craft solutions.
From our research it was clear that there was a shortage of affordable seniors housing in the city ' even more so for the LGBT community. Providing a place for these seniors to age gracefully in place reduces their carbon footprint by half and keeps them connected to a healthy walkable lifestyle with access to health care and amenities that support their lives.
Remaining in your community is possible when your environment supports a healthful lifestyle. Chronic respiratory disease is a prominent disease facing seniors. The building design incorporates healthy materials and cleaning products that don't produce off-gas chemicals that affect respiratory systems. There's a special exercise stair and gym to keep your heart rate up.
It was always clear that this project would be about more than metrics. It retains the residents' connection to their community and invites the community in. It provides a safe and secure home within the community which improves their health and well-being. Ensuring the residents' physical surroundings consider their physical health also supports the bigger picture of the health of our planet ' the larger community.