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Migration of Seniors a Future Force in Southeast Asia, Could Create "Universal Design" Cities

Seniors are migrating around Southeast Asia, some to retire and some to find work. This creates a potential for Universal Design cities—built environments designed to be usable by anyone regardless of disability.

While Noviscape does mention "senior Singaporeans... finding employment as highly-skilled professionals, entrepreneurs, and investors in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and China" it mostly
discusses those traveling to retire:

"Singaporean and Thai retirees relocating their residences to suburban megacities in Thailand and in Laos" and "wealthy Chinese retirees relocating to Cambodia and Laos."

Noviscape says some of this migration is a result of "the opening up of the Luang Prabang corridor along the Thai-Laos border provinces, particularly Nong Kai, Nakhon Phanom, and Udon Thani, because of natural heritage, weather, low cost of living, and good transport links."

The article also mentions seniors migrating from outside the region—specifically Japan and Swede—and coming to the suburbs of Thailand to retire.

It is in retiree communities that we are seeing design innovation:

"We are already seeing attractive, modern and functional design in today’s retiree communities in Thailand."


While it argues that “we cannot claim that a few manmade communities for retirees from developed countries... signal a new trend in migration from those of the snow birds," Noviscape also asserts that these are the places where we see urban design innovation and "in future we are likely to see urban design progressing even further along the lines of ‘Universal Design’ (UD)."

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