Urban Aging

PlaNYC was released Wednesday, revealing New York City’s strategies on sexy topics — resiliency and tech incubators — less sexy but important topics — affordable housing and cross-industry partnerships — to wholly unsexy topics — livability for New York City’s elderly population. Elderly New Yorkers face a host of uniquie challanges as New York City continues to grow. For example, as gentrification and tenants rights are used most frequently when talking about race and socioeconomic, the elderly are also at risk for displacement. Many elderly New Yorkers no longer work and rely on public programs for income, causing a mismatch with rising housing prices. Additionally, many elderly residents face the same types of landlord harassment faced by low-income neighborhoods in neighborhoods with increasing rents.

In addition to the housing and affordability challenges faced by elderly New Yorkers, livability, walkability, and access to transit are further issues on which PlaNYC touch. Interventions from ride share companies can help with the transit issue, but many neighborhoods lack sidewalk amenities that are helpful to the elderly.

AARP released a Livability Index for those aged 50 and up this month to reflect some of these challenges. I calculated the Livability Score for my current neighborhood (the background of this piece!), and found that Gramercy came in at 71. The goal of this index is to encourage communities to grow in a way that reflects diverse ages as well as races and socioecomic makeup.

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