Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Addressing Sprawl and the Silver Tsunami

John Carney
Vice President for Aging and End of Life
Center for Practical Bioethics

An insightful piece on the impact of urban sprawl in the October 25 Kansas City Star – and KC’s overdependence on the auto.

An aspect that I was hoping the story might point to is the overwhelming demographic shift that will affect every aspect of our lives during the course of the next 30 years - the aging of the baby boomers and the seismic shifts occurring in an aging society.

This is one challenge the Center’s KC4 Aging in Community Initiative is planning to address. (Podcast: Mobility and Transportation for our Aging Population, Scott Helm, PhD)
Despite our magical thinking and regional “dreams” of building a metro with 5.5 million people, we need to realize that the silver tsunami is going to create a landscape that creates a vision far more like Florida, where our mantra will be “smaller, denser, closer-in.”

Rather than eyeing cheaper land, wider highways or faster more fuel efficient cars, we’ll be making room for golf carts on parkways and trying to figure out how to connect cul-de-sacs with neighborhood walkways and how to turn malls back into parks.
It’s about so much more than built environments –transportation, housing and complete streets.

This strikes at the very core of what community means, what neighborhoods s will become – as we grow older and wiser choosing more carefully what kind of Kansas City we truly want to create.



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