Aging Boomers Changing the Shape of Cities Across America

It's not just the Sun Cities of America that are planning for how to meet the needs of the country's coming bulge in its over-65 population. Ryan Holeywell highlights how some cities are adapting their built environments for an aging population.

Widened sidewalks, crouching buses, safer crosswalks, senior bicycling groups, and zoning changes to allow "granny flats" are just a sample of the ways in which communities across America are planning to meet the needs of the 80+ percent of baby boomers who plan to age in place. 

"Across the country, urban planners and transit officials are realizing that the wave of boomer retirees will transform the way cities look, from the way they grow and sprawl to minutiae such as curb heights and the fonts on street signs," writes Holeywell. 

"We're in a period of transition that's pretty dramatic," says David Dixon, who leads the planning and urban design practice at the Boston-based firm Goody Clancy. "You look at major metro areas, and sometimes a third or more of their growth for the next 30 years is folks over 65. That's a hugely [significant] and rapid transition."

"The bottom line, planners say, is that city and county governments face a growing challenge: how to design a community for a population they haven't had to cater to in the past. If they come up with the right answer, they can help aging residents lead fulfilling lives and remain engaged and active, even in their senior years. But if they fail, they risk alienating and isolating a rapidly growing cohort of taxpayers."

Full Story: How Will Boomers Reshape U.S. Cities?

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