City Planning for a Better Future
The plight of elderly citizens tends to dominate news headlines. Topics like Medicare, Social Security, health care and long-term care are often referred to as “senior issues.” But as the larger population continues to age — and not die — many more issues will come to light, and we may even drop the word “senior” when referring to them. After all, when issues are large-scale and mainstream, they are seldom relegated to only one demographic.
Consider, for a moment, how a large population hampered by vision and mobility issues would be able to function in an environment dominated by cars. Urban cities can offer boundless challenges while rural landscapes may be marked by fewer resources and potential isolation. With America’s cities and towns facing a crossroads of serious infrastructure and public resource considerations, many are working on plans for a long-term safe and sustainable living environment.
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Aging forces cities to rethink everything,” from LifeHealthPro, May 5, 2015.]
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “How Will Boomers Reshape U.S. Cities?” from Governing.com, Sept. 2012.]
Given the attention sparked by the recent Amtrak collision in Philadelphia, transportation investment is high on the national radar. The seemingly unrelated issue of national obesity should also be part of that conversation, as the rise in weight gain is often correlated with fewer “green spaces” for daily exercise and the rise of non-walking-friendly communities in which families must drive for groceries, school, work and just about every other activity.
According to a new report by the Urban Land Institute:
- 38% of respondents said their communities lack outdoor places for recreation
- 54% said shopping and entertainment are not within walking distance
- 48% said bike lanes are insufficient to make biking a practical mode of transportation
- 25% said traffic makes it unsafe to walk in their neighborhoods
- 21% said crime makes it unsafe to walk in their communities
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “America in 2015: Bridging the Access Gap for Healthier Amenities,” from UrbanLand, May 7, 2015.]
Complex problems often lead to creative solutions, so this particular issue is bound to generate some out-of-the-box ideas. Many communities are trying to integrate city planning with social issues, such as income inequality, health care access and healthier living. Los Angeles has launched a plan with the objective of making 50 percent of all trips taken by city residents to be by bike, foot or public transportation by 2035. Other cities are considering how to incorporate technology and cloud computing so that all residents live in “smart homes” with the entire city interconnected. One activist has proposed urban planning with more narrow streets, like those seen in European cities, to address housing shortages and promote more Old World walking communities.
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “L.A.’s New City Plan Will Make You Want to Move There,” from Our World by United Nations University, April 13, 2015.]
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “13 Urban Trends to Watch,” from UrbanLand, March 26, 2015.]
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Building streets for humans rather than cars could help solve the affordable housing crisis,” from Vox.com, May 5, 2015.]
Big problems that must be addressed by towns, cities, states and the federal government are often created by the millions of people who hopefully benefit from the solutions. Likewise, some of the individual problems that we each face are caused by those large entities. We are interconnected; creating problems and then solving them in turn.
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