5 for Friday: The fine line of livability

We're back with the latest installment in our end-of-week series complementing the Here to There podcast. Today we'll dig into our fourth episode on the topic of livability, more specifically, livability for our aging demographic.

In this episode we were in the Highland Park neighborhood of St. Paul where we walked with Mat Hollinshead (pictured right), a retiree who specifically moved to the transit and amenity-rich area, before heading to the studio to speak with a livability and planning expert who has consulted on numerous senior living projects.

Check out the episode and then read on below:

  1. From the Los Angeles Times - Despite the fact this story is not about affordable senior housing (the couple in the opening storyline just bought a $770k house in tony Dana Point, SoCal), it does bring to light the need for multi-generational communities (vs. the 55 or 65+ communities that remove variation from a community) that have a specific eye toward an 'active' senior demographic. As cited in the article, 'by 2024, households age 55 and older will make up 44.5% of the U.S. population, compared with 42.8% this year, according to the National Association of Home Builders' -- with this number likely to rise for at least a decade, it's good to see new options for aging coming into play.

  2. From Curbed San Francisco - On a more affordable front, San Francisco announced the opening of Openhouse LGBT Senior Housing, Community, and Services which provides affordable options (starting at $821/mo for a single room) for LGBT citizens in a city that's seen nothing but an exponential (and astronomical) rise in rents and property taxes.

  3. From the Chicago Tribune - Staying on the topic of affordability, this article does a nice job of highlighting an unfortunate reality: most of what's being peddled to the aging boomers assumes they have the funds and desire to live in a luxury accommodation. The inextricable linking of affordability and livability came up quite a bit in this episode, and when you consider facts such as by 2036, 42% of those who are 62+ will have assets of $25k or less, you start to see the problems we're doomed to encounter.

  4. From Consumer Reports - Back to driving, did you know there are 40 million Americans 65+ who are driving? This article is a long but excellent read about the ways seniors are better drivers than given credit for, are making better decisions about when to stop driving, and how systems and transit that offer flexible options play a crucial role in making it easier to transition away from driving.

  5. From the NYT - In this article, everything highlighted above comes home to roost: someone doesn't want to give up the keys, doesn't want to move to a senior living oasis, and doesn't have a lot of resources to choose from a variety of luxury options. So where does that leave them? Well, nowhere great ultimately. Because this is in the Opinion section, it's not bringing a lot of solutions to bear but the question is one worth asking -- what are we going to do to truly accommodate the 10,000 people who turn 65 every day for the next 19 years?

That's it for this week! The podcast is taking a break next week for the Fourth of July but we'll be back with a blog post exploring our fifth episode next Friday. Have a safe and happy holiday!

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