An Urban, Technologically Enabled Era of Retirement

A feature article in Marketwatch describes a future for retirement communities that look more like WeWork than the golf course-adjacent exurban communities of the 20th century.

2 minute read

May 28, 2019, 5:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Old Skool

chrisdorney / Shutterstock

Rachel Koning Beals writes a feature-length article on the evolving priorities of aging seniors exploring the housing market for new kinds of retirement community options.

The current generation of aging Baby Boomers is set to completely redefine the market for retirement communities. Not all of the potential for change for happy reasons, many are facing "financial burdens associated with living longer than prior generations did," according to Beals—a reality "that challenges a U.S. formula for senior housing that hadn’t changed much in decades."

yet, there are reasons for optimism that a new approach to retirement could see benefits for the aging generation. Beals explains:

Yet if the demanding, savvy-consumer baby boomers taking over where their Depression-era parents left off have their say on where and how they live as they age — and geriatrics experts say they do — the era of grin-and-bear-it acquiescence is no more.

Many of today’s best available senior-housing options are really a nod to the past: higher-density locales, homes suited for multiple generations, and community support and stimulation that keeps retirees active and healthy.

Beals notes that many surveys and real estate trends show a back-to-the-city movement for aging seniors, mimicking the preferences of Millennials and Generation Z, but perhaps for different reasons.

Technology is also enabling freedom to live in urban environments like never before: "Technology, especially leveraging the sharing economy, can help satisfy boomers who want to age in place or are rightfully demanding more from their assisted-living options. (Think of services spanning Uber or Lyft rides to in-home wellness programming.)"

Thursday, May 23, 2019 in Marketwatch

Rendering of electric scooters, electric cars, light rail train, and apartments in background.

Arizona’s ‘Car-Free’ Community Takes Shape

Culdesac Tempe has been welcoming residents since last year.

February 14, 2024 - The Cool Down

Aerial view of New York City architecture with augmented reality visualization, blue digital holograms over buildings and skyscrapers

4 Ways to Use AI in Urban Planning and City Design

With the ability to predict trends, engage citizens, enhance resource allocation, and guide decision-making, artificial intelligence has the potential to serve as planners’ very own multi-tool.

February 20, 2024 - ArchDaily

"It's The Climate" sign over street in Grants Pass, Oregon.

Oregon Town Seeks Funding for Ambitious Resilience Plan

Like other rural communities, Grants Pass is eager to access federal funding aimed at sustainability initiatives, but faces challenges when it comes to meeting grant requirements.

February 18, 2024 - The Daily Yonder

Close-up of bottom half of stroller being pushed onto sidewalk with no curb cut by person in jeans and brown shoes.

How Infrastructure Communicates Values

The presence and quality of sidewalks, curb cuts, and other basic elements of infrastructure can speak to much more than just economic decisions.

February 23 - Strong Towns

Greyhound and Amtrak buses at a temporary bus terminal in San Francisco, California.

Despite High Ridership, Intercity Bus Lines Are Eliminating Stations

Riders on the ‘forgotten stepchild’ of the U.S. transportation system find themselves waiting for buses curbside as Greyhound sells off its real estate in many U.S. cities.

February 23 - Governing

Buffalo, New York

Buffalo Residents Push Back on Proposed Cap Park

State and local officials say the $1 billion project will heal neighborhoods divided by the Kensington Expressway, but community members say the proposed plan will exacerbate already poor air quality in the area.

February 23 - Bloomberg CityLab

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.