Land use planning and design plays a major role in the livability of our communities. In June of 2008, the Centralina Region’s Area Agency on Aging and the sponsors of the Aging in Place Initiative came together to hold a workshop in Charlotte, North Carolina that discussed the role of land use planning in allowing older adults to age in place. This report examines the highlights of the workshop, addresses the central role of transportation and housing in the work of land use planners and designers, and features best practices in land use planning and design that promote healthy aging in place.
Of the many elements that define a community’s livability for aging in place, none may be as important as transportation and housing. To keep older residents in their communities, planners need to ensure they have access to affordable and appropriate housing and that they can engage in community life, even if they are not driving.
Other report highlights include:
- Older residents of the Centralina Region want to stay in their own homes and communities and have access to health care services, transportation options, employment opportunities, and civic involvement and volunteer opportunities.
- Aging in Place Task Force – this coalition in Davidson, NC (part of the Centralina Region) was created in response to three residents in Davidson who were convinced that the town of Davidson was not suitable for older residents to age in place. As a result of the task force’s work, the EPA noted that Davidson “is setting the standard for creating healthy and vibrant neighborhoods in a historic setting.”
- Status of Seniors Initiative – this Mecklenburg County, NC initiative made specific land use recommendations which included support for compact, mixed-use development, new housing innovations in neighborhoods that are walkable and near transit, and involvement of seniors in planning decisions.
This report provide an outline of national best practices in land use planning and design to illustrate what areas across the country are doing to facilitate healthy aging in place.
How to Use
Community planners, advocates, government officials, and local leaders can use this insight provided in this report to gain an understanding of what the Centralina region is doing to improve the livability of its communities by focusing on land use planning and design. The best practices provided in the report can be used to establish local initiatives that will facilitate healthy aging in place for older residents.