Structural Barriers to Developing ‘Aging-Friendly’ Communities

A 2007 issue of the Public Policy & Aging Report (vol. 17, pgs. 15-20) included an article by Chun Lehning and Andrew Scharlach, “Structural Barriers to Developing‘Aging-Friendly’ Communities.”

The article describes two structural barriers to developing ‘aging-friendly’ communities. The first type involves policies that have evolved over the past century, resulting in structural barriers to aging-friendliness in the areas of land use regulations, housing policies, transportation policies, and opportunities for community involvement. The second is the structural lag that stems from the attitudes and behaviors of the majority of Americans, who have not prioritized aging-friendliness within their communities or their personal life planning.

The authors argue that what is needed now is leadership among federal, state, and local leaders to create forward-thinking public policies and practices that help America’s communities prepare for population aging.