Reflections on livable communities events

Reflections on livable communities events

Posted on May 03, 2016 by Kathy Black

Age-Friendly Sarasota recently hosted a series of Livable Communities events with Dr. Rodney Harrell, director of Livable Communities for the AARP Public Policy Institute and lead architect of the Livability Index.

Dr. Harrell spoke at four events addressing:

1) urban planners throughout the county

2) leaders in government, business, media, nonprofits and community groups across the eight domains

3) interested community members

4) neighborhood leaders

All events were well-received by attendees and illustrated the importance of livable communities for all ages- the nexus with Age-Friendly Sarasota.

The Livability Index was shared with urban planners as a helpful tool for their work, much of which is focused on creating environments in which we can all live, work, play and thrive. The planners appreciated the focus on the “Built Environment/ Infrastructure,” which includes housing, transportation and open spaces and public buildings. Attention to these domains fosters our full engagement in our environments, and ultimately, our quality of life.

Presenting to leaders by domain and sector throughout the community fostered continued learnings about the importance of livable communities for all. While some attendees were introduced to the content for the first time, others have already been thinking about the ways in which we can create a better community for all-- throughout the life course. Many attendees are in major positions of influence and are already gathering ideas to incorporate some of what they learned.

The public forum provided all community members with an opportunity to hear from Dr. Harrell. The components of Livable Communities resonate with those interested in our community and attendees at this event included many people who have been following Age-Friendly Sarasota efforts since its inception -- nearly a year ago! The event, jointly sponsored by AARP, served to further engage and foster connections with others on our collective age-friendly efforts.

Meeting with neighborhood leaders, in partnership with SCOPE, provided an interactive workshop for those community members who have already committed to making their community a better place to live. Considering the aspects of Livable Communities and the Age-Friendly domains of livability, there was even greater understanding about the synergy of aligned efforts.

Though attendees will undoubtably derive multiple insights from the information shared during the Livable Communities events, one cross-cutting theme was certainly shared by all; and that is that Age-Friendly Sarasota is a community for ALL ages. People from all generations, and stages and phases of life and abilities, will surely benefit from age-friendly considerations throughout the community. Together, we look forward to the possibilities of our collective age-friendly journey!

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