anthropology · architecture · community

Vancouver BC improving urban living for its older residents

Crosswalk button ne.
Making cities safe for residents of all ages is a major step to creating a more lively, sustainable community. Image via Wikipedia

Great article in the Vancouver Sun about the city working to make urban living more conducive to older folks:

City planners, engineers, seniors and health researchers came together to discuss things such as pedestrian crosswalks, which often don’t allow enough time for a safe crossing, given that at many lights the halting hand starts to flash after just seven seconds.

“It takes all hands on deck,” said Heather McKay, director of the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility, referring to the necessity of collaboration when making infrastructure changes to the so-called “built environment.” That’s why the Vancouver Coastal Health centre helped organize the second annual research and community partnership symposium, called “If we build it, will they walk?”

Using a $1.5-million grant from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, McKay and her colleagues are examining factors that help make cities good places to grow older. Their goal is to identify the things that can prolong active and independent living, which will also help improve physical and emotional health, plus reduce dependency on the health care system.

Living in an urban environment makes a lot of sense for retired folks – easy access to public transportation, food, activities – as long as those resources are made accessible to their needs.

What other cities are making their spaces and infrastructure better for residents of all ages?