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Princeton Is First New Jersey Community To Earn WHO ‘Age-Friendly’ Designation

October 6th, 2014 by

Palmer Square in Princeton. Photo by Dan Komoda Photography via Wikimedia

Palmer Square in Princeton. Photo by Dan Komoda Photography via Wikimedia

Princeton has become the first municipality in New Jersey to join the World Health Organization’s global network of “age-friendly” communities.

Princeton applied to the WHO for the designation after Susan Hoskins of the Princeton Senior Resource Center realized that the town already has satisfied many of the things on the application checklist – things like walkability, availability and affordability of transportation options, a variety of accessible and affordable housing choices near necessities and amenities, and access to social interactions. (A guide to the WHO age-friendly communities criteria may be found here.) Ms. Hoskins also cited New Jersey Future’s recent report, Creating Places To Age in New Jersey, as a catalyst for the application when she realized that Princeton was one of only four municipalities that received the highest score on all four of the aging-friendly characteristics used in the report, and that no municipality in New Jersey had yet received the WHO designation.

The application was prepared with the help of the Princeton University Volunteer Consulting Initiative, a group of graduate students that lend assistance to local organizations, and was submitted via AARP.

Now that the town has received its designation, its next step is to form a task force to take all of the age-friendly criteria listed in the WHO guide and note which criteria Princeton is already meeting and which criteria still need to be met. The WHO will re-evaluate the designation two years from now, and again five years hence.


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