57This chapter applies largely to specialised housing. It looks at the important role that shared indoor and outdoor spaces play in alleviating loneliness and promoting healthy lifestyles, and it investigates the use of design to encourage social interaction and develop a sense of community while respecting privacy and independence.

‘Soloinsieme’, the invented term that combines the Italian words for ‘alone’ and ‘together’, sums up what many regard as the best of both worlds: independent living accommodation with shared spaces that bring people together and offer easy opportunities to enjoy a change of scene without the need to travel – one of the main reasons why those who opt to move to ‘group settings’ make that choice. While some spaces are specifically designed with sociability in mind, others simply encourage incidental, neighbourly encounters.