What Makes a City a Good Place to Grow Old?

Walkable neighbourhoods and feeling part of the community, for a start

(photo via The Vancouver Sun)

By Erin Ellis
August 15, 2015—The Vancouver Sun

When one-quarter of British Columbians are over 65 in about 20 years, where will they be living?

Cities are an obvious choice for people who want to ditch the car — or are forced to do so — with ready access to shopping, transit, parks and health care.

Plenty of B.C. communities are magnets for retirees who already make up more than 25 per cent of residents in Parksville and Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island, or Penticton and Peachland in the Okanagan.

Around the world, municipal leaders are looking at ways to make cities better for an aging population: New York has re-installed many of the bus benches it had removed to stop homeless people from sleeping on them, this time adding strategically placed arm rests to make lying down impossible. Walk signals at wide intersections have been lengthened — or medians added — to give slow-moving pedestrians a fighting chance of making it across the street.

New York is one of 258 cities and towns in the World Health Organization’s network of age-friendly cities. Sixteen are in Canada, with Saanich on Vancouver Island the only West Coast entry.

Read the rest of this article in The Vancouver Sun

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