Chart of the Day: Seniors Surveyed on Walkability

Here’s a chart that shows the results from a recent survey put out by a group called A Place For Mom. It shows the preferences for walkability, transit, and safe streets from a nationwide sample of senior citizens:

Via the Curbed article, here’s a quote from a developer describing the typical designs of senior living homes:

Many developers, and society at large, assumed that seniors preferred a more rural or suburban location, due in large part to the fact that developers, looking to create larger campuses, sought out 3-5 acre plots of affordable land far from urban centers. Seniors don’t prefer campus living outside of town centers and urban centers, he says. That was a impression built on how the industry got started.

“We were creating these islands of old age,” he says, “where you’re surrounded by your peers and you lose that intergenerational connectivity. We found we were spending a disproportionate period of time busing our seniors to other places to generate that intergenerational connectivity.”

The fact that walking can be so hard in so much of the US landscape is particularly tragic given how beneficial staying active and walking can be for people as they age. Add in the idea of social isolation, and there’s a lot to be gained from designing streets and neighborhoods to be walkable and safe for people of all ages.

Take a look at the next intersection you see, and imagine seniors trying to use the crosswalk or countdown timer…

Bill Lindeke

About Bill Lindeke

Pronouns: he/him

Bill Lindeke has writing blogging about sidewalks and cities since 2005, ever since he read Jane Jacobs. He is a lecturer in Urban Studies at the University of Minnesota Geography Department, the Cityscape columnist at Minnpost, and has written multiple books on local urban history. He was born in Minneapolis, but has spent most of his time in St Paul. Check out Twitter @BillLindeke or on Facebook.