The head of Northern Ontario's school of architecture says there needs to be more focus on designing homes for low-income seniors.

Director Terry Galvin made the remarks at a public forum Tuesday night hosted by the Sudbury hospital.

He mentioned some examples of innovative developments where seniors can live throughout their retirement years, but said that style of building is not for everyone.

"It's a bunch of baby boomer yuppies that decided to take care of themselves because people weren't doing it for them," he said.

"If you have money fine, if you don't have money then it's a question for us as a school of architecture."

Galvin said the big question facing architects and planners is how to enable seniors to stay in their homes, when most live in single family neighbourhoods that don't have services within walking distance.

A supply-demand question

The forum was meant to discuss how to design cities to meet the needs of the growing senior population.

Greater Sudbury city planner Kris Longston noted that, with more potential riders in the years to come, the city should be able to create a better public transit system.

"What's the future look like for Sudbury when we have all these seniors not able to drive in a city that is entirely auto-driven,"  he asked.

"Maybe they're not able to drive anymore [and] they [will] start to demand more public transit. Then you'll start to see, if more people are using it … an improvement in public transit as demand goes up."

Longston said it's a similar supply-demand question with housing.

In the past, developers built sprawling subdivisions full of single family homes, because that is what the public wanted. But in the recent years, more and more builders are focusing on condominiums, townhouses and apartments to appeal to downsizing seniors.