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To grow old, but preserve independence and privacy earmarked for people who live alone; to have neighbors who are aligned with your way of life and being; as well as convenience, leisure and cultural activity spaces. This is the formula chosen by the association of Unicamp professors, in Campinas, inner São Paulo state, when developing Vila ConViver. Scheduled to be inaugurated in 2020, this will be the first cohousing project for the elderly in Brazil.

“The idea came about after several docents who lived alone became unassisted in their old age,” says Bernadete Piazzon, 59, one of the 96 future residents. “The association of professors created a study group that selected cohousing as the best housing model”. Vila ConViver is targeted at docents and employees over the age of 50, and has been fully sold out.

With a similar purpose, the Municipal Housing Department in the city of São Paulo inaugurated Vila dos Idosos, in 2007, conceived for residents with limited financial resources. The space is composed of private studio apartments and collective socialization areas.

Designed by Héctor Vigliecca – a renowned social housing architect –, Vila dos Idosos encourages interaction. There’s a vegetable garden, water mirror where residents sit in the sun, and a laundromat. Residents may live alone or with another person. At present there are 200 residents.

One of the residents is Ruy Almeida, 80, who until last year had lived two years in a long-stay institution for the elderly. “I prefer life much more at Vila dos Idosos. We come and go as we please and nobody questions anything.” This is where he met his current girlfriend, Lia Loureiro, 78. She also says that she could never consider living in a rest home: “I hate them.” Click here for the full article or watch a video with interviews at: