Looking for a Walkable Urban Place for Retirement

Though many retirement communities still look just as they have for many decades—defined by cul-de-sacs and golf courses—many seniors are looking for a more urban lifestyle.

1 minute read

October 23, 2016, 5:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Walkable Street

Marques / Shutterstock

"In the age of the Fitbit and a growing cohort of active, engaged retirees eager to take their daily 10,000 steps, retirement communities have been slow to change," according to an article by John W. Wasik.

Despite 80 percent of retirees still living in car-dependent suburbs and rural areas, a new paradigm is emerging for retirement lifestyles: walkable, urban space. According to Wasik, a walkable, urban space "may range from existing neighborhoods in places like Brooklyn or San Francisco to newly built housing within city and suburban cores from coast to coast."

"Walkability, though, is much more than a hip marketing pitch. It’s linked to better health, social engagement and higher property values," according to Waski.

The article cites the expertise of Christopher Leinberger, who has been a leading researcher on the topic of walkable urban places, including the "Foot Traffic Ahead 2016" report, which finds growing demand for the development pattern

There are many obstacles to the creation or preservation of walkable urban places, especially as designed to cater to seniors and retirees. "Age-friendly communities within cities may require extensive infrastructure improvements, including wider sidewalks, bike lanes, more public transportation options and longer pedestrian signal walk times," reports Waski.

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