How Neighborhoods Impact Older Adults’ Resiliency to Climate Change

New research seeks to learn how homes, neighborhoods, and communities affect how older residents are affected by climate change.

1 minute read

December 7, 2022, 11:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

In a new paper published in Housing Policy Debate, Jennifer Molinsky and Ann Forsyth assess the influence of environmental factors on older adults’ vulnerability to climate change. This research is important because older adults are at “greater immediate risk” due to the higher likelihood of having mobility limitations, respiratory illnesses, or other risk factors, the authors explain.

The paper focuses on communities, neighborhoods, and homes as three nested but distinct spaces where climate risks can be mitigated or exacerbated in various ways. “For example, while the risk of severe storms, floods, or extreme heat differ by region, they can also vary locally by neighborhood, block, or house. A low-income renter may have little control over temperature or air quality in their building, creating greater exposure and sensitivity to heat, cold, or smoke entering the home through poorly sealed windows.” Meanwhile, residents of high-rise buildings may become stranded during an extreme weather event if elevators stop working. At the community scale, rural areas with few health facilities may predispose residents to worse health outcomes.

The authors note that more research is needed into the intersection of aging, climate change, and homes and neighborhoods, and the economic and demographic differences that impact how and where older people live.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022 in Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University

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 suburban sprawl with large single-family homes near Dallas, Texas.

The Changing Shape of American Suburbs

Housing costs and availability are pushing more American households, including young families, to suburbs and exurbs — and they’re demanding changes.

February 13, 2024 - Business Insider

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

Google street view of wide grassy median in Beverly Hills, California.

Beverly Hills Installs First ‘Green Street’

A three-block median featuring native plants and bioswales is part of the city’s broader effort to reduce water consumption and pollution.

7 hours ago - Beverly Press

Habitat for Humanity volunteers in construction helmets buildign a wood-frame house.

Habitat for Humanity and Missoula Land Trust Team up on Affordable Housing

The partnership will ensure the new homes will remain affordable for future buyers.

February 22 - KPAX

Orange California poppies in bloom over gently rolling hills in Southern California's Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve.

Experiencing California's Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve

Located in the western Mojave Desert, this stunning state natural reserve is renowned for its breathtaking displays of California poppies and has even been referred to as California's most beautiful place.

February 22 -

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

The Walkable City

Harvard GSD Executive Education

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

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.