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 . 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 .
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 .
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 .
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 . 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.
 APPG (2019). Rental Housing For An Ageing Population.
 First Place. (n.d.). First Place – Phoenix. [online] Available at: https://www.firstplaceaz.org/ [Accessed 1 Mar. 2020].
 Ford, A. (2019). First Place AZ Welcomes Executive Director to Groundbreaking Residential Property in Phoenix. Frontdoors Media. [online] Available at: https://frontdoorsmedia.com/2019/05/first-place-az-welcomes-executive-director-to-groundbreaking-residential-property-in-phoenix/ [Accessed 1 Mar. 2020].
 Levitt, D. and McCafferty, J. (2018). The Housing Design Handbook. 2nd ed. Routledge, pp.81-110.
 SARRC (2018). Transition Academy. [image] Available at: https://www.autismcenter.org/living-independently-first-place-transition-academy-operated-sarrc-helps-become-reality-those-autism [Accessed 1 Mar. 2020].
 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: https://www.autismcenter.org/living-independently-first-place-transition-academy-operated-sarrc-helps-become-reality-those-autism [Accessed 1 Mar. 2020].
Feature image – RSP. (2017). First place. [image] Available at: https://rsparch.com/2017/11/30/phx-mayor-honors-first-place/
Fig. 1 – Levitt, D. and McCafferty, J. (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) [image]
Fig. 2 – First Place. (u.d.) Schedule for daily activities at First Place [image]
Fig. 3 – First Place. (u.d.) Plans showing the functionality of each room [image]
Fig. 4 – 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) [image]