Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Only once every three or four blue moons do we receive an interesting press release through our fax machine here on the 13th Floor, but this one from Fairfax County, Virginia certainly qualifies. It introduced a new term to me: Peter Pan housing.
Peter Pan housing refers to homes built in a way that seems to assume their occupants will never grow old -- designs that prove troublesome because their owners rarely seem to be blessed with perpetual youth. Problematic features the county has identified include "entry stairs, narrow doorways or lack of a first-floor bathroom."
In response to these concerns, Fairfax is reviewing building codes and trying to increase financing options for retrofitting homes. Retrofitting is expensive, but one Fairfax official pointed out that having an elevator installed is cheaper than a year in assisted living.
Obviously, the aging of the Baby Boom generation makes this a big issue, but so does the substantial decrease in the percentage of American houses with only one story over the past few decades. As a result, a lot of places probably need to go after Peter Pan housing with Hook-like zeal.
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.