Godshuizen Zorghe & van het Schippersambacht

Congratulations to A&B’s Thomas Dougherty on Published Article

We offer congratulations to our own Thomas Dougherty on his article titled “From Our House to ‘God’s House’” recently published in The Catholic World Report.

The article focuses on a development model implemented during medieval times in Western Europe to house the aging and elderly. Specifically citing examples of godshuizen (god’s houses) in Bruges, Belgium, Thomas explores what “home” means, particularly as we age and approach end of life.  Alternatives to the elder care facilities common in the United States since the 1950s are presented and their merits discussed. 

Godshuizen Zorghe & van het Schippersambacht
Godshuizen Zorghe & van het Schippersambacht, 1924.

Thomas, who sits on the West Chester Planning Commission, says, “One of my goals is to look at turn-of-the-century development practices similar to those in Western Europe that can be found in NY, Philadelphia and even West Chester that enable the elderly to age in place. Chester County, like most of the country, is looking at the projected demographic of seniors rising drastically in the next 20 years. Many of these seniors are looking for alternatives to the institutions that serve elderly today. I believe that opening the door to small cottage court or bungalow court developments in single family residential neighborhoods and allowing the development of ADUs (accessory dwelling units) could begin to meet some of the needs of this growing population.”

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