Tuesday, October 26, 2010
The Detroit Free Press recently ran an interesting article discussing how auto-centric development could be a big problem as our population ages and becomes increasingly less able to operate autos. If that happens, then there may be quite a few people without the ability to access places for their daily/weekly needs.
Chad Emerson, Faulkner U.
That suburban layout has been popular for decades, but aging Michiganders might find that the same sprawl will make them homebound once they can no longer drive, experts say.
"Southeast Michigan is auto-dependent. It's in our DNA," said Robin Boyle, chairman of Wayne State University's Department of Urban Studies and Planning. "People are aging in place in this model of the suburban home that's dependent on the Buick leaving the house every morning." But older adults may face "a whole list of reasons why you won't be able to move that Buick," Boyle said.
And that means reshaping the way cities and villages and counties think about their communities.
Zoning might need to be reconsidered, as developers move toward more mixed-use developments where senior citizens can live within walking distance or be in the same complexes where they shop and do errands, or even build "granny flats," so elderly relatives can move onto their properties.