Are urban environments best for an aging population? So asks Tim Smedley’s Guardian article Nov.19th. Perhaps in ways that will directly effect our everyday world, urban planning could be one of the single most important focal points for discussion on the future of an aging population. It is ironic that many of our great cities are aging in two ways at the same time.
Older cities (crowded, busy and noisy), have long lists of “aging infrastructure” projects with a very tight tax base to make the needed investments – and these same aging cities are working with social policy issues with an eye to determine how we are going to better service the needs of their “aging demographics”. It is the 21st century urban planning challenge.
One of the items in the Smedley article that hit me immediately was the example of the ₤30M revamp of London’s Exhibition Road. Having walked that road a number of times I did notice last year that it was under construction. This further made me reflect on another age – the London of the 1860”s when the whole city was like one huge construction project. Read Victorian Babylon.
What would it take, 150 years later, to do something age friendly, wonderful and massive to our urban landscapes? London, New York, Toronto or any aging city. But before we took the bold step, should we not make this effort one that takes into account our collective inter-generational power, to design a city that works for every age?