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Shaping The City: Design For A Graying Population

Wider sidewalks, front door thresholds with no step up, buttons on traffic signals that give pedestrians a bit longer to cross the street. These are some of the design elements Arlington County, Va., has adopted in recent years to help aging baby boomers stay in their homes. From architectural tweaks to rethinking car-centric suburbs, we examine local efforts to design communities that accommodate a graying population.

Photos: Designing For An Aging Community

Arlington County officials appointed an Elder Readiness Task Force in February 2006 and charged it with assessing the county’s capacity to serve a growing number of older people. The group created a blueprint for strategies to enable Arlington residents to age in place. Recommendations include wider sidewalks, upgraded traffic signals that support pedestrian crossing, and training for people who need help learning how to use Metrobus, Metrorail or ART, Arlington's bus system. View examples of how some of the recommendations have already been implemented:

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