Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Motivating Aging Friendly City Design with a Personal Touch

The WHO Global Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities (GNAFCC) promotes the generation of knowledge on how to assess the age-friendliness of a city or community, and provides guidance on how to create age-friendly urban environments. All members of the Network share a commitment to creating physical and social urban environments that sustain age-friendly, healthy, livable communities for older adults.

Having the option to age independently within one’s community is a fast emerging global prerogative. Cities and communities can share experiences by joining the network directly or through sister organizing bodies such as the American Association for Retired Persons (AARP). They can access the global resources and approaches cities and communities are taking to define baseline measures for policy and practice and exchange results under commonly defined domains and categories.

Over the last two years, the City of Chicago in partnership with Northwestern University has conducted an assessment of the city’s age-friendliness in accordance with the terms and conditions of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s membership in the World Health Organization’s Global Network of Age- Friendly Cities. Utilizing the World Health Organization’s Age Friendly protocols and resources, the Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) has begun to build an evidence based profile of older Chicagoans using a range of methods and drawing on a variety of funding sources. Methods to date have included: focus groups with older adults using senior centers, an environmental scan of popularly cited age-friendly indicators for livable communities, q sort interviews with key stakeholders working with older adults in the community; a community wide survey for all older Chicagoans. If you work with older adults in the City of Chicago please friend the Age-Friendly Chicago Survey on Facebook here or send out the survey link (

by: Jay Bhatt DO MPH, Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine &
Rebecca Johnson Ph.D, Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine

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