“If a street is primarily designed to move cars, it won't support social connections, small businesses, walking, or many of the other vital aspects of community life. In cities or towns (and in senior living communities), streets are public space.”
If streets are going to serve as places of beauty and social interaction, a context-sensitive approach to design is necessary. Dan Burden, walkability expert and Director of Inspiration and Innovation at Blue Zones, says that “In the past, we designed streets for efficiency, maximizing movement, and that often would induce speed. But in the future, streets are going to have to bring speed down to what is appropriate for their space, as appropriate to context. We also need to build homes and other buildings that watch over the street to provide security. Only if we do that are people going to feel comfortable walking again.”
So here’s another Great Idea that the New Urbanism provides for Senior Living: Context-Based Street Design. When applied properly to the context of a senior living community, it means that streets are not just for cars, walking surfaces are of appropriate materials, and glare is minimized. Design a perfect place for people that also moves cars.
Here in Florida the FDOT is making great strides in the realm of implementing Complete Streets. They understand that it is not a matter of “one size fits all”, but that roads should fit into the context of the area through which they are routed.
One of the great things of living in the Historic District is that I can walk to my mechanic’s shop. It’s great going through the neighborhood, past the old schoolhouse, and on my way. But then suddenly, the sidewalk ends – then after crossing the railroad tracks it starts back up again, only to stop and dump me onto a busy roadway. Fortunately, there’s a landscaped island with turfgrass that I can safely walk on. Eventually, the sidewalk picks back up again, and I can safely get to the shop to pick my car up again. That’s not walkability!
We should be building places where the streets are not only walkable, but enjoyable; places where we stop and chat with neighbors – where we can grab a cup of coffee, and interact with one another. That enhances wellbeing.
Baby Boomers Don’t fit the Profile – They’re not like their parents. Providers are shifting to a lifestyle centered around entertainment, leisure, and wellness in order to remain relevant to the new market. We believe that a lot can be learned from the New Urbanism about enhancing wellbeing for tomorrow’s seniors. This is the 5th in a 7-part series highlighting Great Ideas for the Aging Services Industry from the principles of New Urbanism.
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Brad Smith Associates, Inc. is a mold-breaking exterior planning and design firm serving the aging services industry. Our approach puts people first, focusing on their unique needs while cultivating a deep sense of community. That is done by using a rational problem-solving method, infused with Imaginality™, combining the five key components of PLACE-Creation into our designs:
Planning - Applied foresight to achieve your project goals
Lifestyle - Delivering a better result for people by understanding their needs and lifestyles
Aesthetics - The aesthetics of a property speak to the "brand essence", greatly affecting marketing.
Community - a sense of meaning, identity and belonging for the people living there
Economics - informed decision-making on the front end during the design process can yield significant dividends on the back end (by reducing ongoing operations and maintenance costs).
We're landscape architects and planners by profession, and we love putting our talents to work to create value for you.
How can we help you maximize your potential in the marketplace? We'd like to learn more about how we can help you achieve great things - whether that involves planning new construction, making repairs or renovations, or completely re-positioning your product offering.