Planning Senior-Friendly Cities

As part of its ongoing series on Canada's aging population, the Globe and Mail looks at what is being done to adapt cities for a large cohort of senior citizens.
January 12, 2011, 7am PST | Michael Dudley
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The Globe and Mail has been examining the rapidly growing population of senior citizens in Canada and its many impacts, from health care to coping with dementia. Now it turns to the built environment:

"In 2006, the [Canadian] federal government endorsed the WHO's Age-friendly Cities initiative, which encourages communities to identify changes that will make urban life easier and more pleasurable for an aging population."

[Some Canadian cities planning for an aging population are considering]:

"Disabled parking spots: In Niagara, municipal authorities are considering a community recommendation that would increase the number of handicapped parking spaces.

Cutaways: The region also plans to increase the number of sidewalk cutaways, the sloped areas of pavement that allow wheelchairs and walkers to easily traverse the gradation from street to sidewalk.

Cross walks: Extending the length of time allotted for pedestrian crossings is a contentious issue, although many elderly citizens complain that the lights change too quickly.

Benches: Last year, Halifax awarded $65,000 in Age-Friendly Communities grants, several of which paid for the installation of addition seating around the city.

Readable cities: The City of Mississauga plans to update its website with three font size options, all of which will be sans serif, and will avoid using patterned backgrounds. The Niagara Region is considering installing large community maps, similar to 'You are here' signs in shopping malls."

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Published on Friday, January 7, 2011 in Globe and Mail
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