As you read Silver Linings: The Active Third Age and The City, one thing to keep in mind is one underlining point in these urban future scenarios for 2030 – an expectation of a certain level of personal affluence will be required to sustain living these visions. Wealth inequality is an acknowledged challenge early in this UK report as is health inequality. Yet wealthy, healthy or not; surely strong social interaction is the thread of the sliver lining of the urban aging experience.
Assuming active third-agers have the continued energy and sustainable income to make even half of RIBA’s Building Futures campaign come true as presented in their Silver Linings; then it’s worth peering trough the looking glass to relate these UK scenarios to whatever urban space you reside in.
Silver Linings presents six trend scenarios for 2030, and most of these are already in play now in the UK, North America and other world urban centres. Consistent through each of these are themes like innovative urban design, strongly linked transportation systems, intergenerational connectivity and strong community networking.
Further thinking this through at the macro level on the theme of urban aging, I am reminded of Richard Florida and his book “Who’s Your City?” – how choosing where to live is likely the most important decision of our life. Making that choice counts at whatever our age and stage of life.
Choosing that sweet spot as we get older will demand some foresight into more than one scenario for our longevity.