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First place is of course the finest award you can achieve, but how good is First place, Phoenix – the residential development that offers options for adults living with autism and related disorders [2]. I first came across this scheme whilst researching ‘New Models of Care’ within the module Housing Alternatives ARC8069, which led me to deliberate, the success of the scheme and if the UK have anything like this.

New models of Care?

New models of care within the community are often referred to as housing the ageing population with specifically designed apartments, actively engaging them back into the community whilst offering personal or extra care. However, like First place, new models of care can correspondingly provide housing for those that are younger or vulnerable [4].

(Levitt, 2018) | Windmill Court, Chingford – Conventional housing development that offers care for the ageing population within London (top left + bottom left), Specifically designed apartments that offer care, having a handful of larger units (right)
First Place?

First place, designed by RSP Architects and SARRC, is a unique housing scheme, non-other quite like it. The non-profit organisation gives young adults and families that are suffering from autism or similar disorders to live in with peace of mind, offering care and opportunities. A home that inspires those residents to work, learn and gain independence for the real world. It represents a new residential prototype that aspires to be an international model, making sure housing and community options are as bountiful for adults with autism as they are for everyone else.

The 55-apartment development has an integration of strong community-integrated living options, activities to keep residents active through the weekly schedule as shown in the figure, sports pool, culinary teaching kitchen, community centre, health and wellness centre and supporting suites for residents [3].

(First Place, n.d.) | Schedule for daily activities at First Place
(First Place, n.d.) | Plans showing the functionality of each room

With all these features, comes the success. Transition Academy student, Lindsey Eaton has gained much-needed life skills such as taking the rail or Uber to the local College or work, then back to her apartment, she’ll clean, check her budge, cook dinner and talk to her family. Students just like Lindsey which will graduate in May 2020 will be integrated within the community within their 2-year course, live their lives by contributing to and immersing themselves into their chosen communities [6].

SARRC (2018) | Lindsey Eaton securing a position at Arizona School Board Association (top left), Transition Academy grad Jake now employed (bottom left), Transition Academy (right)

So, are there any schemes like this in UK? Yes, though not all as prosperous as First Place. Many organisations focus more on the ageing population like Windmill Court with the help of the HAPPI reports [1]. However, organisations like Inclusion Housing, HBV supported living and Lifeways and some others do specialise in housing the vulnerable youth, though these are much smaller schemes, housing around 10 residents. I see a lot of potential in some of these developments such as Agnes Court and Oak House, to develop further and hold brighter futures for the vulnerable youths.



[1] APPG (2019). Rental Housing For An Ageing Population.

[2] First Place. (n.d.). First Place – Phoenix. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Mar. 2020].

[3] Ford, A. (2019). First Place AZ Welcomes Executive Director to Groundbreaking Residential Property in Phoenix. Frontdoors Media. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Mar. 2020].

[4] Levitt, D. and McCafferty, J. (2018). The Housing Design Handbook. 2nd ed. Routledge, pp.81-110.

[5] SARRC (2018). Transition Academy. [image] Available at: [Accessed 1 Mar. 2020].

[6] Scott, K. (2018). Living Independently: First Place Transition Academy, Operated by SARRC, Helps That Become a Reality for Those on the Autism Spectrum. [online] SARRC. Available at: [Accessed 1 Mar. 2020].


One response to “Arizona – First Place… UK – ?”

  1. I can understand your appreciation of the incredible facilities which First Place, Arizona provides adults living with autism. Once I researched them online after reading your blog, it became clear to me that perhaps our reason for not having a facility of the same calibre in the UK is to do with funding and affordability. The price of a 1-bedroom apartment at First Place is USD$3,900 pcm [1], which is USD$2,872 pcm higher than the average rent for a standard 1-bedroom apartment in Phoenix [2]. Although there is a donations tab on their website, it becomes extremely clear that more funding needs to be placed by governments into projects such as First Place in order to make this level of care accessible to more individuals.

    In terms of the UK, The Care and Support Alliance called on the Government to fill a funding gap of £2.5bn, however they received the amount of money to cover less than a third of this [3]. It is clear that through the means of New Models of Care, we can provide autistic adults with incredible facilities, however without funding this level of support is inaccessible to so many who could benefit.

    [1] 2019. Apartment Pricing Sheet. [ebook] Phoenix: First Place. Available at: <> [Accessed 9 March 2020].
    [2] 2020. Average Rent In Phoenix, Phoenix Rent Trends And Rental Comps. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 9 March 2020].
    [3] 2020. Our Response To The Government’S Budget (30 October 2018) – National Autistic Society. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 9 March 2020].

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