San Diego

Local Cities Plan Initiative for Age-Friendly Communities

The City of San Diego recently launched a focused effort to create livable communities for people as they age, as part of the Age-Friendly Communities program.

The goal is to provide neighborhoods where older people can safely live within their means, have easy access to public transportation, and stay connected socially.

The City of La Mesa launched the initiative a few months ago, with community meetings and an online survey to ask people what they need.

The city is now going through the responses to come up with an initial plan and will hold additional, public meetings in the month of May.

"When you plan for your aging community, you're also improving the quality of life and the accessibility of your whole community for all ages," said Sue Richardson, director of community services for the City of La Mesa.

The action plan will be presented to the La Mesa City Council in the fall.

If approved, the goals set forth in it will be used in future planning for La Mesa.

"We want to have a spider web of programs and activities that will keep someone who will live here through their life span," explained Richardson, who added the city doesn't want people to move to another state where housing may be less expensive.

In San Diego, where the effort is just getting underway, city staff pointed to the Normal Street Promenade Project, which calls for a pedestrian thoroughfare in one of the most popular areas in Hillcrest, as an example of a livable community for older adults.

"Just in San Diego alone, it's expected the number of individuals age 65 and above is going to double by the year 2030," said Katie Rast, Community Impact Director at San Diego Foundation.

The County of San Diego and the City of Chula Vista have already begun working on the Age-Friendly Communities initiative, which is part of the AARP and World Health Organization program.

The foundation hopes to expand the program to all cities within the county.

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