Luna Azul: Founded for Friendships

Luna Azul: Founded for Friendships

April 12th, 2019

Ask anyone with a family member that has a developmental disability: watching their loved one’s daily struggle to connect, be social and make real friends is, itself, a struggle. In fact, it is around this essential truth that Luna Azul has focused much of its planning and programming. With architecture and a village plan to inspire neighborly encounters, and a social calendar that mitigates social isolation, Luna Azul will create genuine community for its residents.

Intentionally Social Architecture

Luna Azul is designed as a ‘pocket neighborhood,’ a concept made famous by the project’s architect Ross Chapin. For Chapin, a pocket neighborhood provides the setting for neighbors to develop meaningful relationships beyond family and housemates.

Each home’s living areas and front porch face a courtyard, and shared greenspace encourages neighborly encounters. A perimeter wall surrounds the community for safety and security. And, the clubhouse with its activity areas, media room, teaching kitchen, pool area and community garden provide ample opportunity for meeting, greeting, eating and repeating!

The pocket neighborhood design gives Luna Azul a distinct aesthetic identity. Equally important is that it will give each resident a sense of territory. By sharing defined space that is indeed their own, residents feel a bond in pride and stewardship -- and that helps to build a thriving social structure.

Intentionally Fun Programming

Still, buildings alone do not friendships make! Luna Azul’s Community Director Rex Matthews will be putting the buildings and grounds to work with special events, periodic classes, and weekly programming.

Rex has devoted the past 25 years of his career to people and services in Arizona’s developmental disability community. At Luna Azul, he will lead the community’s planned activities, encourage resident engagement and serve as a personal conduit between residents, caregiving families and providers.

The community clubhouse and pool will be the center of all activity: water aerobics and water volleyball; game night with board and video games alike; cooking classes and craft projects; and DJ’s, dancing and drum circles. This joint will be jumping!

While there will also be the occasional movie screening, Rex offers that “movies don’t offer an opportunity for conversation,” so early on, he’ll be looking for more social engagement. It’s a clue into how intentional Rex will be as he cultivates Luna Azul’s social vibe.

Intentionally Building Community

For most who live with a developmental or acquired disability, isolation is a risk if not a reality. With a social life that is often structured, roommates pre-determined and minimum wage caregivers who come and go, there is little opportunity for spontaneous and meaningful human interaction.

Indeed, available evidence suggests that up to half of people with an intellectual disability or impairment are chronically lonely, compared with around 15 to 30 percent of people in the general population.

The Luna Azul model seeks to be the antidote to this loneliness. From the design of our homes, and communal plan of the neighborhood, to the planning of events and management of our staff, this is a community that will encourage resident participation and overall well-being. And genuine well-being must also -- and always -- include good friends.



Have Questions?

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Call Luna Azul at 602.529.1016 602.529.1016

Luna Azul Address 1500 E Wahalla Ln. Phoenix, AZ 85024

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Luna Azul

Luna Azul is America’s first for sale residential community for adults with disabilities. Located in North Phoenix, Arizona, Luna Azul is an intimate "pocket neighborhood" developed by Mark Roth of ECC Management, LLC.


Coley Schaan Amaro


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1500 E Wahalla Ln. Phoenix, AZ 85024

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