“The Greying of American Cities: Evaluating Built Environment Indicators to Ensure an Age-Friendly City”
As an urban planner with an interest in ensuring accessible, inclusive, and age-friendly cities, I became really interested in the recent growth of cities implementing city-wide age-friendly plans. As a new and growing field, there are considerable opportunities for both practitioners as well as researchers within this area.
Curious about the grassroots nature of most age-friendly plans as well as the lack of long-term data, my question was really about whether the indicators cities use to create, ensure, and measure age-friendliness are the most effective and efficient. While there is considerable research that focuses on elements that contribute to an age-friendly city, characteristics of urban seniors, and qualities and programs that support those aging in cities, there was not yet any research that focused on existing age-friendly plans and the indicators they were using to determine age-friendliness.
I’m interested in policy implementation and, with this research, whether the tools used to measure and determine a city’s age-friendliness are the most effective. I specifically focused on the indicators both cities, professionals, and established research have determined as the most efficient, and with the help of over 30 aging and built environment professionals, developed a list of 24 key indicators that would ensure an age-friendly city.