May 7, 2013
WHERE: Temple University Ambler, Learning Center Room 207
WHEN: Thursday, May 9, 5 p.m.
The aging of society is an enormously important demographic change that has implications for every aspect of life in the United States. The challenge for decision-makers planning the future of our communities is to ensure that the built environment meets the changing needs of all citizens including older people.
On Thursday, May 9, Department of Community and Regional Planning graduate and undergraduate students will present their findings from a comprehensive report entitled “Aging With Our Communities,” which was created for Montgomery County Aging and Adult Services. The studio presentation will begin at 5 p.m. in Ambler Campus Learning Center Room 207.
“This is the culmination of the department’s year-long focus on planning for aging communities. For this planning studio, undergraduates and graduates worked jointly under the direction of Community and Regional Planning Instructor Jeffrey Doshna and Professor Jeffrey Featherstone (who is also director of Temple’s Center for Sustainable Communities),” said Department of Community and Regional Planning Chair Dr. Deborah Howe. “Their ‘client,’ Montgomery County Aging and Adult Services, recently completed a four-year plan where ‘aging in place’ was identified as a primary goal. This report is intended to provide this area agency on aging the tools needed to achieve this goal within the areas of housing, transportation, services and safety and security.”
Throughout the year, undergraduate and graduate planning students been working on projects that have incorporated an aging perspective into planning, according to Howe.
“Last year during the 10th anniversary of our department, we honored the work of the Philadelphia Corporation on Aging, which has been particularly successful in advocating for an aging perspective. At the time, we committed to incorporating aging as a theme in all of our courses for one year,” she said. “Two of our planning studios at Ambler have focused on issues of aging in Montgomery County while the Harrisburg studio has done the same for Lebanon County.”
Community and Regional Planning Master’s student Lindsey Graham was a part of the studio class that has been working with Montgomery County to develop plans to help the elderly age in place.
“The Center for Disease Control defines aging in place as the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently and comfortably regardless of age, income or ability level. This project has been a terrific experience as it’s allowed me to really step out my comfort zone and explore planning from different perspectives,” she said. “This is a project that I feel could be taken and used to make a significantly positive impact on our communities.”
Thursday’s studio presentation follows May 3’s 2013 Spring Planning Institute, which explored a variety of issues related to meeting the needs of the country’s older population. The Planning Institute, co-sponsored by the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association, was held at the Temple University Harrisburg Campus.
“The theme of the 2013 Spring Planning Institute was ‘Planning for Livable Communities: Incorporating an Aging Perspective.’ The Institute offers planners, policy makers, service providers and citizen activists tools that can be used to transform our communities to support people as they age in place,” said Temple University Department of Community and Regional Planning Chair Dr. Deborah Howe. “Specific attention will be given to transportation and housing alternatives, creating inter-generational communities, and advocating for an aging perspective within the context of local planning and community development.”
According to Howe, the goal of the Planning Institute, which was attended by Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Aging, Brian M. Duke, was to “provide planners, municipal officials and citizens the tools with which we can transform our communities.”
“Our low density suburban and rural environments have limited housing, transportation and mobility options to meet the needs of their citizens as their abilities change due to aging,” said Dr. Howe. “In many cases, that is creating unnecessary stress that is affecting quality of life for these individuals and their caregivers.”
Howe said it is important to get planners and decision-makers to use aging “as a lens through which we can evaluate our communities and the extent to which we support or hinder continuing independence.”
“We need to identify ways to put people in planning — we need to do more than building just single family houses and highways ,” she said. “This isn’t just an issue for older adults. This is about planning to meet the needs of people throughout their lives.”
For additional information about the studio presentation, contact 267-468-8300 or CRPlanning@temple.edu.