206171 Age-friendly New York City: A New Way to Address and "Old" Problem

Monday, November 9, 2009

Paula J. Gardner, PhD , Division of Health Policy, New York Academy of Medicine, New York, NY
Julie Netherland, MSW , Division of Health Policy, The New York Academy of Medicine, New York, NY
Ruth Finkelstein, ScD , Division of Health Policy, The New York Academy of Medicine, New York, NY
In New York – as in other urban centers – the converging trends of globalization, urbanization, and aging have placed unprecedented demands on city infrastructure and planning. Traditionally in the U.S., the challenges of aging have been addressed by implementing “aging services” targeted to the old and infirmed. This approach fails to maximize the potential of older adults or the strengths of the urban environment. Moreover, the voices of older adults are often left out of efforts to plan for their needs. New York City is currently engaged in a groundbreaking project that adopts a new planning paradigm whereby all facets of city life are viewed through the lens of aging. As part of the Age-friendly New York initiative, more than twenty City agencies assessed their own age-friendliness. Concurrently, through community forums, focus groups, individual interviews, and expert roundtables, more than 1500 participants were asked to evaluate how City services, settings, and structures are inclusive of, and accessible to, older people and how they could be improved. The year-long assessment culminated in a findings report that clearly demonstrates that the perspectives of older urban residents must be incorporated into all public policy and urban planning processes. Going forward, a public-private Commission will oversee concrete efforts to improve New York's age-friendliness. This project models how to effectively engage government partners in an inclusive planning process to maximize older residents' participation in city life, including its transportation systems, parks and outdoor spaces, cultural institutions, health and social services, communication and information, and housing.

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain an “age-friendly city” and a new paradigm for aging planning 2. Describe the inclusive planning process utilized in New York that incorporated the voices of older adults, government partners, and experts 3. Discuss findings and next steps that have emerged

Keywords: Aging, Public Policy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I participated fully in the research and implementation of this project.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.