Strategies for Creating Engaging Intergenerational Spaces and Places

12-1 pm

PSTC Seminar Room 205, Mencoff Hall

Matthew Kaplan, Professor of Intergenerational Programs and Aging, Penn State University; and Mariano Sánchez, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Granada and Visiting Scholar in Population Studies at Brown University

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What does it mean to create public places that are conducive to intergenerational engagement and cooperation? Places such as public housing facilities, parks, playgrounds, shopping malls, community centers, schools, and purpose-built age-integrated centers where the generations can readily meet, interact, build relationships, and, if desired, work together to address issues of common concern. In this talk, Kaplan and Sánchez will present examples of creative programs, planned environments (including images and objects found in these environments), and design strategies that are responsive to intergenerational engagement goals in diverse settings, both in urban and rural contexts. Kaplan and Sánchez will frame these examples in the context of intergenerational contact zones -- a conceptual tool (for examining complex, multi-generational settings), and a design tool (for generating innovative ideas for developing intergenerational meeting spaces which may be converted into socially meaningful places). 

Matthew Kaplan is Professor of Intergenerational Programs and Aging in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education at Penn State University, where he conducts research, develops curricular resources, and provides leadership in the development and evaluation of intergenerational programs. At the core of Kaplan’s research and outreach initiatives is the Penn State Intergenerational Program, rooted in the Penn State Extension, but inclusive of a broader base of scholars and practitioners working in diverse settings. He has a Ph.D. in Environmental Psychology from CUNY Graduate Center and is an affiliate faculty member of Penn State’s Center for Healthy Aging.

Mariano Sánchez, a Visiting Scholar in Population Studies at Brown University, is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Granada in Spain where he holds the Macrosad Chair in Intergenerational Studies. He has been the technical coordinator of the Spanish Intergenerational Network, former co-editor of the Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, and a member of the Management Committee of the International Consortium for Intergenerational Programmes. Sanchez is the director of the Certificate in Intergenerational Projects and co-directs the International Certificate in Intergenerational Learning. Furthermore, he is the director of Intergenerational Spaces Lab (ISL), a research and consulting team focused on the analysis of spaces to be transformed into intergenerational places.