To explore the concept of livable communities for all ages, GOVERNING and AARP convened leaders from state and local government — as well as economic development experts, community advocates, academics and other key players in community development — in four cities (Des Moines, Iowa, Lansing, Mich., Philadelphia, Pa., and Salt Lake City, Utah) around the country over the course of the year. In each case, the roundtables highlighted the growing awareness of, and planning and action around, how to prepare for what is arguably the most profound demographic shift in American history. The primary lesson from the roundtables: No two places are responding in precisely the same way; there is no single formula for how to create communities that embrace all generations. But it was clear from the discussion at the roundtables that there are plenty of communities that are certainly not taking “a wait and see approach” to preparing for an aging population. These communities are actively working to create the kinds of vibrant and healthy societies that are attractive to Americans of all ages. This paper highlights those initiatives, focusing on the themes of planning, partnerships and engagement.
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