AARP Bulletin: Towns and Cities Prepare for Aging Populations
Get used to hearing about “age-friendly cities” and “livable communities.”
That’s exactly what many towns and cities are striving to become as the first of 78 million boomers turn 65 this year. In 10 years those boomers will be 75, and in 10 more, age 85. For the next 19 years, nearly 10,000 people a day will celebrate the big 6-5. And that doesn’t include the demographic that reached 65 before 2011. continue reading>>
Two years ago, Kate Clark, a PCA planner, created GenPhilly, a network of professionals, mostly in their 20s and 30s. The group raises awareness of the older demographic and offers professionally and networking opportunities for its members. continue reading the section about GenPhilly [here]
Read below to find out what GenPhilly’s founder, Kate Clark, has to say about Philadelphia Zoning & Elderly.
What could aging possibly have to do with zoning? According to Kate Clark, a planner with the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA), the needs of older city residents were never addressed in the city’s zoning code.
“There wasn’t any mention of ‘senior,’ ‘elder,’ ‘older person.’ There was no mention” in the code whatsoever, Clark said.
That might be a problem. According to PCA’s director of research and evaluation, [Allen] Glicksman, Philadelphia’s population is aging. One of the city’s most rapidly growing demographic groups is adults over the age of 85.
“Philadelphia will have a disproportionately large population of older people for some time,” Glicksman said. “Housing the elderly is housing a good chunk of the population. They’re not just frail. They want to be active parts of the community. It benefits the older person, but it can also benefit the neighborhood. Part of that is contingent on them being able to live safely in the homes they currently reside in.” continue reading>>
Source: Nick Gilewicz (PlanPhilly)
This event gave GenPhilly and the age-friendly effort excellent exposure to audiences that would otherwise never have thought about growing old in the city.
Junto coordinator Geoff DiMassi said afterwards that this was one of the best discussions he’s hosted so far, and even mentioned how impressed he was with GenPhilly’s professionalism!
Over 45 people attended the event in a space with a maximum capacity of about 50 – roughly half of the attendees were affiliated with the aging network, while the other half had backgrounds in urban planning, architecture and design. This mixed audience was exactly what we were hoping to accomplish since the theme of the event was creating an age-friendly environment.
Kate Clark chaired and moderated the panel which included Allen Glicksman from Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, Christine Knapp from Next Great City, and Katherine Gajewski, Director of Sustainability for the City.
There was an active and lively discussion about the city, aging in place, and related issues – folks were very positive and very sympathetic about helping out neighbors who are elders.
- Urban Gardens / Farms and Senior centers
- The GreenWorks new effort to create an Intergenerational Environmental Corps
- Vacant land and developing age-friendly housing
- Doing a “story slam” on seniors and sustainability (could be a possible upcoming GenPhilly event!)
- The role that small businesses play in creating an age-friendly city.
Added Bonus: Color-coded demographic maps created by Lauren Ring added a visual element to Allen’s discussion- showing us where Philadelphia’s current aging population is in relation to social capital and community parks.
“We really seem to be making a difference.”
Kate Clark, GenPhilly chair