“How Baby Boomers doomed the exurbs”

There is an interesting article that appeared today in Grist.  The gist of it is that Baby Boomers—–along with their children The Millenials—–are largely responsible for the decline of the suburbs, and that the future of the country is urban and walkable.

“Many boomers are now empty nesters and approaching retirement. Generally this means that they will downsize their housing in the near future. Boomers want to live in a walkable urban downtown, a suburban town center or a small town, according to a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors.”

Obviously, crediting the Boomers with the demise of the suburbs is an oversimplification. There are many reasons the suburbs are in decline, and I am not going to go into them here.  What is worth noting is the survey finding that “Boomers want to live in a walkable urban downtown, a suburban town center or a small town.” In other words, in a place with easy, walkable access to a full range of services and amenities.

“Demographers are seeing more older Americans moving, or contemplating moving, into cities and suburban town centers. Rather than being saddled with a house requiring nonstop upkeep or feeling isolated in the burbs, they’re within walking distance of shops, entertainment and public transportation. So their ability or desire to drive is not a big deal.”   (from “Boomers Redefine Retirement Living”)

For those of us who already live in a walkable urban setting with ready access to services & transportation, the desire to find a way to age-in-place (ie. in our own homes), rather than be forced into some institutional retirement community, is overwhelming.   So it makes sense to invest the time and energy to create a Beacon Hill style village  for our own neighborhood so that it will be available by the time we need it.

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The Real Social Network: Aging-in-Place Villages

Excellent overview article in AARP Magazine about the kind of aging-in-place villages we’re trying to get started here in Portland.

via Villages Help Older People Age in Place, Stay in Their Homes Longer – AARP The Magazine, May/June 2011 issue