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Fostering Policy Change to Create More Age-Friendly Communities


Developing communities that are safe, welcoming, and convenient for residents of all ages is increasingly important as the older adult population continues to grow. Community aspects ranging from housing and neighborhood design to transportation services must be considered when planning for an aging-friendly community. This presentation, created by the nonprofit Local Government Commission, examines the key principles of an aging-friendly community and provides examples of communities that have incorporated a number of these principles in their planning efforts. It outlines the community aspects that have the greatest impact on the age-friendliness of a community including compact development, street design, and public transit systems.

Key Points

Aging-friendly communities must be safe, comfortable, convenient, walkable, and accessible. They must provide opportunities for civic engagement, access to different housing options, and transportation options that will meet the needs of all residents – regardless of age or ability. To develop a community that will foster healthy, active living for all ages, planners and local officials must examine the area’s land use mix, population density, site design, connectivity, and street design.

Other report highlights include:

  • The way in which streets are designed impacts many aspects of community life including how people choose to get around – active transit or automobile – the property value of homes in the area, and the vitality of local retail areas.
  • Residents living in mixed-use communities generate up to four times as many walking trips for short trips (less than one mile) than residents living in traditional communities.

How to Use

This presentation can be used by community planners, government officials, and local leaders to gain a better understanding of the key aspects of an aging-friendly community. Additionally, the presentation can be used to help communities assess their age-friendliness, determine where improvements can be made, and establish policies that will promote aging-friendly principles. By planning for the older adult population communities will, in turn, become more comfortable, accessible, and safer for all residents.

View Web site: Fostering Policy Change to Create More Age-Friendly Communities

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