EVANSVILLE - The University of Southern Indiana and the USI Foundation are working on a project aimed at developing a new multi-generational community housing model. The school says campus and community partners will design and build a MAGIC Model House, showcasing accessibility, connectivity and smart technology.

The school and foundation are partnering with aging expert Bill Thomas and AARP and AARP Indiana on the year-long pilot project. Thomas has helped develop Minka houses, designed to be affordable and adaptable to meet the needs of people of different ages and abilities.

The MAGIC Model House will be located on or near the USI campus. The school says it will serve as an educational facility and a model for the design and construction of similar units. In addition, Thomas says he will work with faculty, students and community partners to develop a framework for multi-generational, inclusive communities. He says the concept would allow students to live, work and study near older adults. Thomas calls the idea "independence together."

Thomas and his team will make regular visits to the Evansville campus over the spring to help with the project. The project is being funded by USI, the USI Foundation and AARP, which has worked with Thomas previously.