City Design for ALL AGES – Our SOCIETY is at Stake

Make text bigger | Make text smaller

The need for “Forever Homes” is a watched pot that is quickly coming to a BOIL.  OUR ENTIRE SOCIETY IS AT STAKE.

 We’ve spoken this common theme as an interweaving thread throughout most of our blog posts in one way or another, taking a look at the situation, the challenges, and the vast opportunities from many different angles and at different scales of approach.  As a licensed Architect and certified Aging-In-Place Specialist, we’ve written and spoken publicly to organizations that address the individual client, the caregiver, and the client’s single house.  We’ve also written and shared the message at a larger scale of vision encapsulating neighborhoods, zoning codes, UGA’s (Urban Growth Areas) and builder / developer incentives for “adaptable homes” and similar topics to our Urban Planners and Mayors / City Council.

We’ve discussed publicly on stage everything from Universal Design and Aging In Place concepts within the individual home that allow you to stay in your own home longer, to walk-able neighborhoods with multi-generational housing.  We’ve talked to our city officials about rezoning areas of towns for mixed-use solutions that resolve vacant commercial areas destroyed by the economy (like strip malls, auto dealership row).  We’ve addressed ideas for house conversions on a street that could house a community kitchen and caregiver suites for the homes around it.  There are many areas and angles to address that help create solutions for the multitude of issues at hand.

It’s our passion and our focus here at Empowering The Mature Mind, and our parent company ADM Architecture.  And it HAS TO BE ADDRESSED, CONSIDERED, and RESOLVED if we don’t want to perish and crumble in a multitude of overlapping industries in the next 20-30 years that are affected by the aging consumer.  It requires collaboration, vision, teamwork, and integrity between industries (planning, development & building, medical, jurisdictional, legally, financially, transportation, among many others) to create successful solutions for our cities and towns to prepare for the huge demographic changes in the U.S. and around the developed world in the next few decades.  We are RUNNING OUT OF TIME!  We’re moving into the phase of “Miss the boat, and YOU WILL DROWN.”

It’s as simple as that, and yet the solutions are so multi-faceted and complex, it will take many thought leaders and industry changing mindsets to meet these needs.  It’s time to THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX, or it will be closed up and taped shut on us, and we’ll all suffocate by the results of a lack of big picture thinking and decision making in the next 5-10 years.

Please do take the time to read this article from our former U.S. HUD Secretary Mr. Henry Cisneros, as it clearly states many of the points I would have made in this blog, but won’t repeat as the link is there for your to hop over and read separately.

Henry Cisneros Wants to Design Cities for All Ages

iStockphoto | Thinkstock

Former HUD secretary and San Antonio mayor makes the case for community change – posted by Henry Cisneros, May 30, 2012
Henry Cisneros, Executive Chairman of CityView, is the former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and was a four-term Mayor of San Antonio.



A couple of quick points / stats that provide from that article the MAGNITUDE of the issue at hand, which might help explain our passion and the level of concern I share with Mr. Cisneros:

1) Our nation’s fastest population growth occurring among people over 65.

2) By 2030, 1 in 5 Americans will be over the age of 65.

3) Nearly 90 percent of Americans who will stay home as they age.

4) 70 percent of Americans older than 65 live in single-family detached homes, many of which need modifications.

5) The 80+ age group will have increased from 0.5% of our population in 1950 to 5% by 2040

6) 10,000 people started turning 65 years old EVERY DAY as of January, 2011.

7) Two Thirds (2/3) of Suburbia is now “Empty Nesters”, soon it will be 75%.

SHOCKED YET?  You should be, and something has to be done about it… SOONER, NOT LATER!  We’re taking the stage, taking the microphone, and even taking to the airwaves.  We are taking this message to the public as often as we are able, to anyone and everyone that will listen.  We hope there are enough of them in the room with their EARS OPEN, so we don’t suffocate ourselves with lack of action.  Our homes are at stake.  Our neighborhoods are at stake.  Our cities and towns throughout the U.S. and even abroad are at stake.  OUR SOCIETY IS AT STAKE.

Get it touch with us at info@EmpoweringTheMatureMind. if you would like us to speak at your next organization or association meeting.  Regardless of your industry and profession, you are going to be affected by the magnitude and net worth / purchasing power of the Baby Boomer demographic.  How they care for their parents, and how their kids will care for them, along with the decisions they will make for themselves, will FORM THE FUTURE in the next 2-3 decades.  GET READY NOW, or we’ll all suffer the results.


Additional Resources / References: 
Independent for Life: Homes and Neighborhoods for an Aging America 
(University of Texas Press, 2012)

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

One thought on “City Design for ALL AGES – Our SOCIETY is at Stake
  • Nancy Arbogast says:

    Hello thank you for an eye opening message.

    Unfortunately in here in Africa the situation is reversed, there are more children than Elderly population. Most Africans hardly age due to diseases and poverty. Either way we have to consider the little Elderly population we have in our designs and planning.

    Thank you.

Leave a Reply to Nancy Arbogast Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *