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New Jersey Future Releases Guide to Implementing Aging-Friendly Land Use Decisions

January 15th, 2021 by

New Jersey Future, with funding from The Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation, developed Creating Great Places to Age in New Jersey: A Community Guide to Implementing Aging-Friendly Land Use Decisions to provide local communities with a step-by-step process to design their towns for the needs of older adults. The guide can be used by professionals, municipalities, or residents.

Land use is a critical factor in a town’s livability, and especially for older residents. Including aging-friendly factors in local planning for features like affordable and diverse housing, transportation, walkability, flexible employment opportunities, and access to daily activities and socialization helps towns ensure that older residents can continue to live and thrive independently in the communities they know and love.

With an anticipated 8,000 members of the Baby Boom generation turning 65 every day for the rest of the decade, there is an increased urgency for land use planning to accommodate the growing population of older adults. For example, this demographic is at risk of social isolation and that social isolation presents serious threats to mental and physical health, and older adults face limited access to community resources when isolated. Where people live in relation to destinations and neighbors has a major effect on isolation risk. Older adults living in New Jersey, like many populations in our state, face difficulty in finding affordable and adequate housing. Access to transportation or safe mobility options can also affect the extent to which people can engage in their communities as they age. And these issues are exacerbated by race and class inequities or during a crisis like a natural disaster or a disease outbreak.

This guide provides information on how to organize an aging-friendly initiative, engage the community, develop a land use assessment for your town and, most importantly, how to implement aging-friendly land use actions. The guide also offers profiles of some of the municipalities New Jersey Future has worked with to become more aging-friendly. 

While the focus of this guide is on increasing aging-friendliness, the suggested actions will benefit the entire community, making our towns not only great places to age, but making them stronger, healthier, and more equitable for everyone.

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