Encouraging Urban Retirement

As boomers retire at a rate of 10,000 per day, can they be discouraged from sprawling into suburbs and rural areas, where caring for them as they age can be more challenging?
February 20, 2012, 1pm PST | Anonymous
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With little success, states have long used tax breaks to try enticing retirees. Migration patterns have remained steady for decades, however, with approximately 65% of people fleeing cities at retirement, largely flocking towards "sunshine and fairways". Slate's Will Doig discusses the importance of keeping seniors in cities though a combination of policy and planning that caters to their unique needs.

Mobility is a widely recognized issue for seniors. Doig points out that policies, such as in San Francisco, that eliminate urban bench seating make it difficult for seniors to get out and about. Transit poses another set of issues. For seniors who struggle to haul shopping bags to the nearest bus stop or train station, semi-legal "dollar vans" could be legitimized through regulation to offer an affordable alternative to hailing a cab.

Planning policy that facilitates inter-generational relationships is essential to caring for seniors while creating vibrant communities. Given the failure of financial incentives to attract retirees, Doig argues:

"...cities must do the work themselves to become attractive to seniors. And they should, because older people have more to offer cities than just their pensions."

Thanks to Jessica Brent

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Published on Saturday, February 18, 2012 in Salon.com
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