Oculus - Winter 2012 - (Page 28)

feature Aging In Place There's No Place Like Home Designing residences and communities where aging New Yorkers love to hang out By Jerry Maltz, AIA, and Christine Hunter, AIA, LEED AP A n American turns 65 roughly every eight seconds, creating a growing “silver tsunami” as Baby Boomers age during the next two decades. Within the next half century the population above age 65 will increase more rapidly than any other age group, reversing the traditional pattern in which younger age groups outnumber seniors. About 930,000 seniors now live in New York City, and more than 1.4 million are projected to live here by 2030. At 80.6 years, life expectancy in the city is higher than in the rest of the country, and in 2010 New York became the first American city in the World Health Organization’s Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities. Most seniors want to age in place – that is, not to be forced to move from their home and community because of disability. Urban environments accommodate this preference more easily than less densely populated areas because of the proximity of services, availability of public transportation, and pedestrian-friendly surroundings. But there are challenges as well, and numerous modifications must be made to allow people with limited physical capabilities to lead productive, independent lives. Tis is the aim of the Age-Friendly NYC Commission, composed of City Council members, Mayor’s Office representatives, and leaders of various non-profit and private-sector organizations (including Ed Mills, FAIA, from AIANY’s Design for Aging Committee). Communities for all ages Neighborhoods with few architectural barriers, numerous places to sit, and conveniently-located restrooms help people remain independent and engaged. Ruth Finkelstein, senior vice president of the NY Academy of Medicine, who is directing this Age-Friendly Initiative, said in a talk at the Center for Architecture that “the more deeply we get into this work, the more design, architecture, 28 Oculus Winter 2012 and urban planning become central. Architects can be the standard-bearers for an ‘age-in-everything’ approach to design, where we do not wait to develop age-friendly design for ‘old age’ dwellings, gathering places, and communities, but use age-friendly design for all our work – truly creating cities and communities for all ages.” Te commission has established three Age-Friendly Districts: East Harlem, the Upper West Side, and Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Staff members work with local groups and businesses to raise awareness and implement specific practices for seniors: stores provide seating areas, allow use of their restrooms, and utilize large-font signage; libraries and museums develop programs; pools establish special hours and are adapted for disabilities with disabled changing areas and pool liſts; gyms organize exercise classes; the Apple Store offers technology classes; food markets sponsor cooking classes; and hospitals hold lectures about healthful eating. Existing resources are used in new ways: school buses in their idle hours drive older adults to shopping areas; vouchers are provided for taxis; traffic lights are rescheduled to increase crossing times at intersections. Capital investments, such as new taxis and bus shelters, are designed with aging in mind. Council Member Jessica Lappin, chair of the NYC Council Committee on Aging and member of the Age-Friendly Commission, said at the Center, “How we help those in need will determine how we are judged as a society.” A primary factor in determining the quality of seniors’ lives is their home environment. Te high cost of housing in New York is particularly problematical for seniors with fixed or reduced incomes. Since the late 1970s the Federal HUD 202 program has allowed non-profit organizations to create and manage affordable rental apartments for low-income seniors. As federal funding for new housing has diminished, architects for these developments try to integrate spaces that foster social interaction without exceeding budget limitations. Gathering spaces Te evolution of HUD 202 buildings was examined in a presentation at the Center last January by Judy Edelman, FAIA, and Andrew Knox, AIA, of Edelman Sultan Knox Wood Architects. Tey discussed building upgrades and modifications they have designed for older 202 projects undertaking capital improvements. As residents age, many require more assistance and companionship, making it desirable to have social and medical services available within their buildings. To draw people out of their apartments, lobbies can be designed as social “hangouts” with comfortable seating, daylighting, artificial light for reading, and plants. Security guards in conveniently located stations can become social lubricants. If the lobby is small, other gathering spaces can be provided. At La Casa de Felicidad in the South Bronx, designed by Magnusson Architecture & Planning, corner elevator lobbies were enlarged to create common “day rooms” on each floor, where tenants can easily enjoy each others’ company with ample daylighting and views of the street below. Edelman Sultan Knox Wood Architects: The recently renovated lobby of ECHO Apartments, a supportive housing facility for the elderly in Morningside Heights, places seating opposite the security desk to encourage conversation between seniors and the security guard. Designs Fit for Life ©Edelman Sultan Knox Wood Architects http://www.naylornetwork.com/arc-nxt/

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Oculus - Winter 2012

Letters from Two Presidents
Shelter from the Storm
Center Highlights
Urban Farming Takes Root
Opener: Design: Where One Small Shift = One Big Change
The Big Picture: Designing for Health/Solving for Pattern
Active Design: Urban Bones, Human Muscles
Aging In Place: There's No Place Like Home
Good Neighbors: A Retreat for Healing, and the Iconic O’Toole Retooled
New Work/New Approaches: Models of Medical Care
Thinking About Architecture
20th-Century World Architecture
Material Strategies
High Life
Ralph Walker: Architect of the Century
Ely Jacques Kahn, Architect: Beaux Arts
A Visual Inventory
The health and welfare of retired sailors was the objective of Snug Harbor, which opened its fi rst Greek Revival building in 1833
Hospital Hopes
Alphabetical and Categorical Index

Oculus - Winter 2012