Integrating Our Aging Population Into Mixed Use Communities: The Congress for the New Urbanism’s CNU21
Jon Dauphine, Senior Vice President of Education and Outreach for AARP, said that in 2007, there were 37 million people in the U.S. over the age of 65. In 2030, that number is expected to boom to 72 million. That’s more than 1.5 million per year.
In a recent survey, Dauphine explained, 68% of seniors in the U.S. agree that they want to stay in their own neighborhoods. This breaks the stereotype of selling the family home and moving to the sunbelt. They typically cited proximity to family and friends, amenities, the presence of public transit, and the ability to walk daily as reasons to stay in their homes.
Boomers and millennials (those born between 1980-2000) are curiously similar in their amenity demands. Dauphine said that both groups value a social life more than other age groups, as they don’t have children anymore/yet. 1 in 4 seniors in the U.S. live in the center city. 1 in 3 millennials live there as well.
Stephen James, Manager at Planning and Community Design, Kennecott Land, worked on Daybreak, a master planned neighborhood still in development at the Southern end of Salt Lake Valley. He described that for the residents, he wanted to create, “not just a home, but a place.” James said that the mix of ages and price ranges truly create a thriving community.
One problem Daybreak, along with many other subdivisions, faces is the need for mobile infrastructure. James said that the problem for Daybreak is public schools, but this can be true of any public service. Fire stations, police stations, schools, libraries, and more cannot simply move along with the populace to the newest subdivision at the outskirts of town on a whim. This illustrates a very expensive trend that continues to harm communities’ quality of life.
Mitch Brown, Chief Development Officer, Kisco Senior Living, said that the stigma surrounding senior living developments has created many challenges. He said that the barriers need to be broken down- that “senior living” doesn’t equate to, “you’re going to die here.” Due to the longevity of humans thanks to modern medicine and sanitation, senior living facilities are marketed to those aged 75 and above, not 65 and above.
Brown was involved with the senior living community in Daybreak. Now, the neighborhood has 200 units on 6 acres and the heart of the community, between the transit, dense core, medical facilities, and lakeside trails. This placement, among with many of Kisco’s designs, allow seniors to continue to engage in life through volunteerism, continued learning, and other means of personal fulfillment like fitness and social engagements.
Kisco is a stickler for quality- the company only contracts out the medical staff and beauty salon. The dining, management, programming, and other aspects of the community are entirely designed and maintained by Kisco.
What sorts of amenities would/do you crave in retirement?
Credits: Photo and references linked to sources.