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Creating Iowa Communities for All Ages

In cooperation with AARP, Governing Magazine convened the second in a series of four 2012 state discussions on planning for an aging population while improving life for residents of all ages. “Iowa: Creating Communities for All Ages,” a thought-leader forum, brought together more than 100 community, business, government, and individual leaders involved in Iowa’s community planning efforts on June 27 at the Renaissance Savery Hotel in Des Moines.

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Looking ahead to 2030, Iowa and all other states will see a rapid acceleration in the growth of their older population as baby boomers reach retirement age," said AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond, who welcomed attendees to the day-long forum and highlighted a number of national and state initiatives AARP and state agencies are undertaking to address the country’s aging demographics.
 
Iowa Gov. Terry E. Branstad (R) joined the conversation and shared his thoughts about bringing vision, partnerships, and resources together to improve the quality of life for Iowa's residents. He challenged attendees to think creatively and he issued a resolution proclaiming “Iowa as a state committed to promoting, creating and sustaining communities for all ages.”

“AARP applauds big ideas like Gov. Brandstad’s ‘Healthiest State Initiative’ and his goal for making Iowa the healthiest state in the nation,” said LeaMond. This type of innovation will lead communities in ways that benefit all generations.”

The session was moderated by Governing Magazine’s Editor-at-Large Paul Taylor, Ph.D., with AARP Iowa State Director Kent Sovern. In addition to LeaMond and Governor Branstad’s remarks, architect Michael B. Lehrer, FAIA, President of Lehrer Architects of Los Angeles, addressed the role of architecture and design in creating communities for all ages.
 
During the afternoon session, attendees shared their visionary projects and took a deeper look at strategies for Iowa that mobilize social capital and strategic thinking to address the challenges of the aging demographics. Find more information about the Iowa forum and upcoming age-friendly community events.

Governing selected Iowa as one of the four states for their AARP-sponsored 2012 “Creating Communities for All Ages” because of the strategic planning and leadership of in areas like Des Moines, Johnson County and across the state.

Des Moines was recently named the third city in the country to join the World Health Organization’s Age-Friendly Cities program. Other Governing-AARP “Communities for All Ages” forums include Lansing, Mich., Philadelphia, Penn., Sacramento, Calif., and Washington, D.C

View photos of the event on Facebook.

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