Planning for NYC's Seniors

A predicted upsurge of seniors living in New York City within the next 20 years poses new challenges for the city. According to a report by the New York Academy of Medicine, however, good design and planning may be part of the solution.
September 18, 2008, 12pm PDT | Judy Chang
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"More affordable housing, particularly for seniors, is a major concern, as is the accessibility of such housing. 'We heard several stories of elders feeling trapped in inappropriate or uncomfortable housing,' the authors wrote. And this concern extends to other buildings throughout the city, the message being ADA-compliance is not enough. Thoughtful, respectful design must be embraced.

The city's mass-transportation was applauded, but it could be more accessible - especially the subway - as well as more reliable, and staff could be more patient, courteous, and helpful. As for public space, benches are popular and in demand and pedestrian safety must be increased.

The report concludes that while the city has 'many age-friendly characteristics,' it also has 'a number of features that create significant hindrances for older adults, especially those who are poor, linguistically isolated, or in declining health.' To address these issues, the report calls for a broad-based approach that extends beyond government-which has embraced a number of programs, such as the mayor's All Ages Project-into communities that will work to foster a friendly and comfortable environment for its older members."

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Published on Tuesday, September 16, 2008 in The Architect's Newspaper
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