Assessing the Need of Adaptive Changes for Emerging NORCs in Urban India


  • SUTAPA DAS Department of Architecture & Regional Planning, IIT Kharagpur, Kharagpur
  • MOUSUMI GUPTA Department of Architecture, Jadavpur University, Kolkata
  • SHIVASHISH BOSE Department of Architecture, Jadavpur University, Kolkata



Aging of population, Urban India, NORC, Adaptive Changes, Elderly Housing, Barrier-free


Due to population ageing, today’s high-rise apartments in Indian cities, which are currently mainly owned by young professionals, will turn into naturally occurring retirement communities (NORCs) in near future. Though many urban housing complexes of 1970s and 1980s are already serving as NORCs, the term is comparatively new to Indian housing research. This huge existing housing stock is inadequate for special gerontological needs of the elderly, who are fragile and socially vulnerable. Informal opinion of common people revealed that holistic requirement for elderly in housing is still grossly confused with vertical transport, i.e., elevators, and little attention is paid to other architectural features. As part of an ongoing doctoral study, a detailed literature review was undertaken on the vulnerability profile of Indian urban elderly in the context of special requirements of barrier-free housing. This article aims to establish the urgent need to assess the adaptive potential of existing housing communities serving as NORCs in Indian cities, such that new housing in the future can be planned with flexible approach.


Download data is not yet available.


[1] ARGOUD, D. (2011) Accommodation habitat: an ambiguous evolution. Gerontology & Society, 136, pp. 13–27.
[3] BAL, M., SHEN, W., HAO1, Q. and XUE, H. (2011) Collaborative smart home technologies for senior independent living: A review. In: Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work in Design (CSCWD), Laussane, 08-10 June 2011. New York:IEEE, pp. 481–488
[4] BRADLEY, N., and POPPEN, W. (2003) Assistive technology, computers and Internet may decrease sense of isolation for homebound elderly and disabled persons. Technology and Disability, 15 (1), pp. 19–25.
[5] BRONSTEIN, L. and KENALEY, B. (2010) Learning from vertical NORCs: Challenges and recommendations for horizontal NORCs. Journal of Housing for the Elderly, 24 (3-4), pp. 237–248.
[6] BUREAU OF ENERGY EFFICIENCY (2009) Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) – User Guide. New Delhi: BEE.
[7] BUREAU OF INDIAN STANDARDS (2005) IS SP 7: of India 2005. New Delhi: Bureau of Indian Standards.
[8] BURRIS, K.O. (2001) Senior fire prevention campaign. Fire Engineering, 154 (6), pp. 117–118.
[9] CENTER FOR HOUSING POLICY (2012) Housing an ageing population, are we prepared?. Washington DC: Centre for Housing Policy. Available from: [Accessed 15 April 2016].
[10] CHATTERJEE, M. (2009) Perception of housing environment among high rise dwellers of Kolkata city. Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology, 35(3), pp. 85–92.
[11] CHAUDHURI, A. and DAS, S. (2014) An Agile City for fragile people. In: Proceedings of International Symposium on Megacities, 11–14 November 2014.
[12] CHEEK, P., NIKPOUR, L. and NOWLIN, H. D. (2005) Ageing well with smart technology, Nursing Administration Quarterly. 29(4), pp. 329–338.
[13] CHOE, S.H. and LEE T.K. (2011) A study on building sustainable communities in high-rise and high-density apartments – Focused on living program. Building and Environment, 46(7), pp. 1428–1435.
[14] COURTNEY, K.L. (2008) Privacy and senior willingness to adopt smart home information technology in residential care facilities. Methods of Information in Medicine. 47(1), pp. 76–81.
[15] DAS, S., CHEW, M.Y.L. and POH, K.L. (2010) Multi–criteria decision analysis in building maintainability using analytical hierarchy process. Construction Management & Economics, 28(10), pp. 1466–1433.
[16] DEMIRIS, G., RANTZ, M.J. AUD, M.A., MAREK, K.D., TYRER, H.W., SKUBIC, M. and HUSSAM, A.A. (2004) Older adults’ attitudes towards and perceptions of ‘smart home’ technologies: A pilot study. Medical Informatics and the Internet in Medicine, 29(2), pp. 87–94.
[17] DTZ INDIA (2016). DTZ Research..[Online]. Available from:[Accessed: 17 April 2016].
[18] ELDER, A.T., SQUIRES, T.and BUSUTTIL, A. (1996) Fire fatalities in elderly people. Age & Ageing, 25(3), pp. 214–216.
[19] EMPORIS (2016) EMPORIS – building data and construction projects worldwide. [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 17 April 2016].
[20] FAUSSET, C.B., KELLY, A.J., ROGERS, W.A. and FISK, A.D. (2011) Challenges to Ageing in place: Understanding home maintenance difficulties. Journal of Housing for the Elderly, 25(2), pp. 125–141.
[21] FONAD, E., WAHLIN, T.B.R., HEIKKILA, K. and EMAMI, A. (2006) Moving to and living in a retirement home. Journal of Housing for the Elderly, 20(3), pp. 45–60.
[22] GHOSH, D. (2015) Special police unit to protect the elderly. Times of India. 3rd Jan, 2015. Available from: [Accessed: ??]
[23] GIFFORD, R. (2007) The consequences of living in high–rise buildings. Architectural Science Review, 50(1), pp. 2–17.
[24] GRANT THORNTON INDIA LLP and CONFEDRATION OF INDIAN INDUSTRY (2012) Report on Emerging trends in real estate: India 2012. New Delhi: Grant Thornton. Available from: [Accessed 20 May 2016].
[25] GUPTA, R. and CHANDIWALA, S. (2011) A critical and comparative evaluation of CO2 emissions from national building stocks of developed and rapidly–developing countries – case studies of UK, USA, and India.In: HOORNWEG, D. et. al. (eds.). Cities and Climate Change: Responding to an Urgent Agenda. Vol. 2. Washington DC: The World Bank, pp. 74–135.
[26] HANSMANN, U. et. al. (2003) Pervasive Computing, Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag Berlin .
[27] HUNT, M. E. and GUNTER–HUNT, G. (1986) Naturally occurring retirement communities. Journal of Housing for the Elderly, 3 (3/4), pp.3–21.
[28] HWANG, E., CUMMINGS, L., SIXSMITH, A. and SIXSMITH, J.(2011) Impacts of home modifications on Ageing-in-place. Journal of Housing for the Elderly, 25(3), pp. 246–257.
[29] INDIA. MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS (2011) Provisional Population Totals Paper 1 of 2011 India – Series 1. New Delhi: Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner.
[30] INDIA. New Delhi:MHUPA.Available from: writereaddata/NUHHP_2007.pdf[uary]
[31] INDIA.()Available from [ember]
[32] INDIA. New Delhi: Available from:[]
[35] INDIA. MINISTRY OF STATISTICS AND PROGRAMME IMPLEMENTATION.HlCCA:New Delhi: National Sample Survey Organisation.Available from:[]
[38] JAI PRAKASH, I. (1999) Ageing in India. Geneva: WHO.
[39] KIM, S.K., LEE, Y.M. and YIM, M.S. (2009) High–tech amenities for the elderly: The technological assistance needs of elderly Koreans Ageing at home. Journal of Housing for the Elderly, 23(3), pp. 204–226.
[40] KRISHNASWAMY, B., SEIN, U.T., MUNODAWAFA, D., VARGHESE, C., VENKATARAMAN, K. and ANAND, L. (2008) Ageing in India. Ageing International, 32(4), pp. 258–268.
[41] LABERG, T., ASPELUND, H. and THYGESEN, H. (2005) Smart home technology: Planning and management in municipal services. Oslo: Directorate for Social and Health Affairs, the Delta Centre.LAWTON, M. P. (1990) Knowledge resources and gaps in housing for the aged. In: TILSON, D. (ed.), Aging in place: supporting the frail elderly in residential environments. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman.
[42] MAREK, K. D., POPEJOY, L., PETROSKI, G., MEHR, D., RANTZ, M., and LIN, W. (2005) Clinical outcomes of Ageing in place. Nursing Research, 54(3), pp. 202–211.
[43] MCNEIL, M. A., IYER, M., MEYERS, S., LETSCHERT, V. E. and MCMAHON, J. E. (2008) Potential benefits from improved energy efficiency of key electrical products: The case of India, Energy Policy, 36(9), pp. 3467–3476.
[44] MELLOR, D., FIRTH, L. and MOORE, K. (2008) Can the internet improve the well-being of the elderly? Ageing International, 32(1), 25–42.
[45] MUHURI, S. and BASU, S. (2014) Social interaction and neighbours’ relation in high-rise housings in Kolkata, India – Findings from focus group survey. In: Proceedings of International Symposium on Megacities, Kolkata, 11–14 November 2014.
[46] NEWMAN, O. (1972) Defensible space: Crime prevention through urban design. New York: Macmillan.
[47] NIE, N. H., and ERBRING, L. (2002) Internet and society: A preliminary report. Stanford, CA: Stanford Institute for the Quantitative Study of Society.
[48] NORMOYLE, J.B. and FOLEY, J.M. (1988) The defensible space model of fear and elderly public housing residents. Environment & Behaviour, 20(1), pp. 50–74.
[49] PALTASINGH, T. and TYAGI, R. (2012) Demographic Transition and Population Ageing: Building an Inclusive Culture. Social Change, 42(3), pp. 391–409.
[50] RAAD, M.W. and YANG, L.T. (2009) A ubiquitous smart home for elderly. Information Systems Frontiers, 11(5), pp. 529–536.
[51] RENAUT, S. and OGG, J. (2011) Adapting the home or adapting to the home? WS-15 : Housing and Living Condition of Ageing Populations, In: Proceedings of the 23rd European Network for Housing Research (ENHR) Conference 2011, Toulouse, 5-8 July 2011. Delft: ENHR.
[52] SEIDEL, D., CRILLY, N., MATTHEWS, F. E., JAGGER, C., BRAYNE,C., and CLARKSON, P. J. (2009) Patterns of functional loss among older people: A prospective analysis. Human Factors, 51(5), pp. 669–680.
[53] SINGAPORE. BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION AUTHORITY (2007) Code on Accessibility in the Built Environment 2007. Singapore: BCA. Available from: [Accessed: 9 January 2016].
[54] SIVAMURTHY, M. and WADAKANNAVAR, A.R. (2001) Care and support for the elderly population in India: results from a survey of the aged in rural north Karnataka (India). In: Proceedings of the 24th IUSSP General Population Conference, Salvador, 18–24 August, 2001. Paris: International Union for the Scientific Study of Population. UNITED NATIONS (2002) Political declaration and Madrid international plan of action on ageing, New York: UN.UNITED NATIONS (2009) World Population Ageing 2009: ESA/P/WP/212, New York: UN.
[55] VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT. DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES (2000) Aged Care Residential Services: Generic Brief. Melbourne: Aged, Community & Mental Health Division.
[56] WAGNILD, G. (2012) Chapter 4: Growing old at home. In: PASTALAN, L.A. and SCHWARZ, B. (eds.) Housing choices and well-being of older adults: Proper fit. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge, pp. 71–84
[57] WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION (2007) Global age-friendly cities: a guide. Geneva: WHO.
[58] WINTER, D.E. (2004) Development of an elderly high-rise fire safety plan for the city of Rochester fire department: Leading community risk reduction. New York: National Fire Academy. Available from: [Accessed 15 April 2015].
[59] YUEN, B., YEH, A., APPLOLD, S.J., EARL, G., TING, J. and KWEE, L.K. (2006). High-rise living in Singapore public housing. Urban Studies, 43(3), pp. 583–600.