2021 | Opinion

Opinion: Adding duplexes in Gaithersburg could help strengthen family bonds

There are many benefits to intergenerational living arrangements

To the editor:

Although I’ve been a Bethesda resident for over 30 years, I’m quite familiar with Gaithersburg from visiting my parents in their retirement home.

The pandemic has changed my view of living in crowded apartments, so I am attracted to multigenerational housing, especially duplexes (two-family homes).

Ownership would differ from townhomes. There are too few duplexes in the county, so I hope Gaithersburg will include some as the Lakeforest Mall area is developed.

While there is the potential for family conflicts, I believe the benefits outweigh the risks:

  1. The cost of child and elder care is rising, and family multigenerational living can save much time, resources and money.
  2. Grandparents can help educate their grandchildren in exchange for their own children’s support.
  3. Sharing food and meals more often will create stronger family bonds.

 

As for Lakeforest Mall, I looked forward to the Chinese New Year program every year, and note that people of many ethnicities participate, so these events should be expanded to different cultures.

As retail moves online, perhaps unleased space could be used for educational enrichment space.

For example, computer coding or language classes could be held after school or on weekends. The former could be run at different grade levels by tech corridor volunteers with high school students, and streamed offsite.

The program also might include making videos, and upgrading, repairing or recycling computers. There’s a lot of talent in Montgomery County, and we just have to tap into it.

Henry Chang
Bethesda