Intergenerational Contact Zones: A Compendium of Applications


An Introduction to "Intergenerational Contact Zones" (Matthew Kaplan, Leng Leng Thang, Mariano Sanchez, & Jaco Hoffman)


  • Community Centres as Intergenerational Contact Zones (Alan Hatton-Yeo & Julie Melville)
  • Intergenerational Gatherings among the Water and Willows (Patricia O'Neill)
  • A Portuguese City Park as a Potential Intergenerational Contact Zone (Claudia Azevedo)


  • Castles as Intergenerational Contact Zones: Embracing the Challenge of Restoration and the Adaptive Reuse of Abandoned Castles (Thomas Quinlan)
  • Culture as Animator of Intergenerational Gathering Places (Robert McNulty)


  • Intergenerational Reading Rooms: Lessons Learned from The Intergenerational School (Catherine Whitehouse, Peter Whitehouse, and Mariano Sanchez)
  • University Research Spaces as Intergenerational Contact Zones: Opportunities and Challenges (Thomas Scharf)


  • Can Urban Streets and Spaces be Intergenerational Cycling Zones? (Ben Spencer & Tim Jones)
  • Imagining a Bus Stop as an Intergenerational Contact Zone: Enlivening Everyday Spaces and Playing with Perspective (Jason Danely)


  • Beyond Contact - Intergenerational Living in Cohousing Communities (Lisia Zheng)

Virtual environments:

  • Online Gaming Platforms as Intergenerational Contact Zones (Eyu Zang & Leng Leng Thang)


  • Let's Go Shopping Together: Supermarkets as Potential Intergenerational Contact Zones (Leng Leng Thang, Lee Wee Honf, Zheng Hao Tan, William Henry Taslim, & Zi Heng Wong)


Some Lessons Learned about the Design and Functioning of Intergenerational Contact Zones (Matthew Kaplan, Leng Leng Thang, Mariano Sanchez, & Jaco Hoffman)


  • Appendix 1: The Many Dimensions of Intergenerational Contact Zones (Matthew Kaplan, Mariano Sanchez, Leng Leng Thang, & Jaco Hoffman)
  • Appendix 2: List of ICZ Workgroup Members

Edited by Matthew Kaplan, Leng Leng Thang, Mariano Sanchez, and Jaco Hoffman

[Full reference:] Kaplan, M., Thang, L.L., Sanchez, M. & Hoffman, J. (Eds.). (2016). Intergenerational Contact Zones - A Compendium of Applications. University Park, PA: Penn State Extension. 

Each of the following 13 chapters (not including this chapter) highlight a specific application of Intergenerational Contact Zones (ICZs for short). The focus is on creating community settings that welcome age- and generation- diverse populations, provide opportunities for meaningful intergenerational engagement, and, in some way(s), enrich community life.

Community centers can function as intergenerational as well as mono-generational and multi-generational activity spaces. This chapter highlights an example of a community center in London designed as an intergenerational shared site.

Urban parks can be extraordinarily peaceful, and even spiritual. With water, flowers, birds, trees, and breath-taking views blending with architectural elements and sculpture, they create spaces that feel far removed from what surrounds them. These sanctuaries are like magnets pulling people in from all backgrounds and ages.

This chapter focuses on a city park in Portugal and some of the factors that have influenced its design, redevelopment, and patterns of community use. The Intergenerational Contact Zone concept is used to explore the park’s potential to provide residents with opportunities to meet, interact, and relate to one another without obstruction.

Part of the castle restoration process involves helping participants to pull together an integrated plan that incorporates each generation's interests and hopes for the future.

The value of arts and cultural institutions for intergenerational gathering places depends not only on their specific design, but also on how they "animate" diverse gatherings of young and old to associate and mingle. Through this programming, they become "civic glue" and reward any location.

How can schools become vibrant intergenerational settings? To explore this question, we focus on the Intergenerational Reading Room (IRR) component of The Intergenerational Schools (TIS) model established in Cleveland, Ohio.

This chapter examines the idea of developing university spaces as Intergenerational Contact Zones (ICZs), looking at ways in which new premises might, in time, promote meaningful intergenerational contact. Such facilities also have implications for contributing to the research, teaching, and service missions of universities.

This chapter reviews ways in which cycling spaces can be designed to provide family-oriented, community-building social and physical activity as well as an additional mode of transportation.

The Intergenerational Contact Zone (ICZ) concept could stimulate our imagination and creative efforts to bring new energy and activity into public spaces that tend to be non-interactive and somewhat lifeless, even bus stops.

A cohousing community combines private homes of different sizes and styles alongside shared facilities - gardens, playgrounds, workshops, gyms, and usually a common house enclosing a large kitchen and dining room that provide ample opportunity for intergenerational mingling.

This chapter attempts to build upon the current literature on digital gaming and provide background and justification for the construction of a comprehensive set of intergenerational game design principles for future applications.

For many families, supermarket shopping is an intergenerational experience. The Intergenerational Contact Zone (ICZ) dimension of supermarkets can be enhanced through onsite cooking activities, family celebration events, and family food conversation hubs.

In this chapter, we draw from the previous 13 chapters to coalesce some themes in terms of how the concept of Intergenerational Contact Zones (ICZs) can be used to: aid in the study of complex, multi-generational community settings; broaden the range of intergenerational activity possibilities in diverse community settings; and generate innovative ideas for developing intergenerational meeting "spaces" which may be converted into socially meaningful "places."

List of Participants attending the ICZ "Think Tank" meeting hosted by the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing (June 26, 2015)