The demand for new housing units accommodating the needs of older adults will increase significantly in the coming decades. It is estimated that 60 million new housing units will be needed to serve this growing population and replace aging households by 2030. This report produced by AARP defines livable communities, discusses barriers to implementing livable communities and explains the importance of increasing livability for older adults and all community members.
The report notes the key components of livable communities – housing, transportation and mobility, land use, cooperation and communication, prior education, and involvement in community planning and leadership. “Taking steps to improve livability takes dedicated resources and the support of all sectors in the community. When public officials lead or endorse livable community efforts, it is more likely that others will follow.”
Other report highlights include:
- The majority of adults age 50 and older have voiced that they want to remain in their homes or communities for as long as possible while they age.
- Land use and zoning policies affect a community’s capacity to provide affordable and accessible housing, transportation, and other services to meet the needs of older adults in the community.
- Establishing universal design features for homes allows people of all ages and abilities to live comfortably in their communities.
- Some of the highlighted barriers are lack of accessible and affordable housing types available, lack of transportation options, lack of regional coordination, and lack of communication around livable community objectives to the public.
How to Use
The report offers an in-depth discussion regarding the components of livable communities, opportunities for creating livable communities, and barriers to implementing livable communities. Local planners can use this report to gain an understanding of how best to alter zoning, transportation, road design, and/or housing policy to make communities more livable for all residents, but specifically for older adults. The examples provided of communities that have overcome one or more of the barriers discussed also provide a learning tool for planners.