Lifelong Communities Charrette Brings New Urbanists together to Asess Atlanta's Future

Heather Smith's picture

At the Lifelong Communities Charrette . the Atlanta Regional Commission and DPZ Charrette
this week in Atlanta, Andres Duany charged up the crowd on opening night. Speaking to some 300 Atlanta public officials, Duany charged developers and planners with retrofitting urban and suburban places to fit the lifestyles of older Americans. The Charrette is focused on five sites across the Atlanta region grappling with the demographic shifts as Atlanta prepares for its older adult population to double before 2015.

On a Mobility and Access Panel Jana Lycott of AARP kicked off with some eye-opening statistics including citing how falls in older adults account for 65% of all hospitalizations yet the incidence of falls decrease as population density increases. Solutions discussed by the group included a range from retrofitting aging zoning codes, encouraging senior housing close to town centers, improving pavement and intersection treatments and of course: debating the issue of front porches vs. zero step entry.

Eleanor Smith, of Concrete Change and Andres Duany engaged in a productive dialogue about how to accommodate what Eleanor called “maximum feasibility” of building visitable homes. Visitable homes include: 36” wide doors to accommodate wheelchairs, at least one zero step entrance and reinforced bathroom walls. As charrette participants debated design ideas, the staff designers worked on preparing alternative main street corridors, retrofitting state highways and preparing to accommodate new older populations. For Atlanta long known as the poster child of sprawl the charrette is an opportunity to focus on the future population aging in place.


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