Tuesday, November 28, 2017

First MAGIC Modular Village Being Created in Indiana

Senior Living Innovator Bill Thomas Introduces MAGIC Housing Model

From an article in Senior Living News

Dr. Bill Thomas already has brought innovation to senior living and care, and in the next year he is planning to make magic happen in the industry.

That’s MAGIC, to be more precise. The acronym stands for multi-ability/multi-generational inclusive communities. The first MAGIC development is in the works, to be constructed at the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville, Thomas told Senior Housing News.

The plans for MAGIC rest in part on a new type of housing that Thomas has created, which he formally introduced at the recent Aging2.0 conference in San Francisco. Called Minka, these are small homes built through modular construction, enabled with technologies to help seniors and others who need support to live independently.

Senior living and care has evolved from the days when institutional nursing homes were the norm, thanks in part to Thomas’ work on the Eden Alternative and Green House models. But he believes that far more creativity is needed if the industry is going to meet consumer expectations and thrive as the baby boom generation ages, and he is positioning Minka and MAGIC as part of this effort to think outside the box.

The people’s house

To understand the MAGIC concept, it’s helpful to first picture a Minka “tiny house.”

One of the most obvious defining features of a Minka is its small size. The smallest Minka footprint could be as small as 325 square feet, with a sleeping area, kitchen and bathroom that is fully accessible under Americans With Disabilities Act guidelines, said Thomas.

At this size, a Minka could be built as an accessory dwelling on the same property as a family’s existing home. That’s the case with the first and only Minka home to be built so far (pictured above). This is a backyard cottage for Thomas’ 21-year-old daughter Haleigh Jane, who needs 24-hour care.

But Thomas hopes and believes that many more Minka homes will be constructed, and that they won’t all look like this first effort.

That’s because a Minka is constructed out of modular pieces that can be “printed” and assembled on demand, in a variety of different floor plans. The research and development process has been focused on engineering these “Lego parts” that can be combined in various ways, Thomas said.

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