Atlanta’s nine-day charrette looks at aging and urban design

Atlanta Regional Commission Lifelong Communities Charette http://www.atlantaregional.com/html/4921.aspxAn 
Interesting work from the nine-day Lifelong Communities charrette is now available.  Organized by Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) in partnership with Duany, Plater-Zyberk & Company (DPZ), the charrette brought together design, architecture, planning, aging and health experts to craft six master plans which retrofit sprawling suburban sites in Georgia counties and cities. 
As André Duany points out in his opening speech http://www.monumentalmedia.com/arc/lifelong_charrette/duany_opening/ that before 1950 there were no retirement communities (and in fact he challenges us to find one.)  Retirement communities are a child of the automobile and sprawl.  
He urges his to think about what life was like in before the car.  First, the car “liberated planning from the intrinsic and  organic discipline of proximity”.  In the

Participants at the nine-day Atlanta Regional Commission Lifelong Communities Charrette  took some fundamental first steps in looking at how to retrofit six sprawling suburban sites in Georgia. Organized in February by Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) in partnership with Duany, Plater-Zyberk & Company (DPZ), the charrette brought together design, architecture, planning, aging and health experts to craft master plans for the six sites in Atlanta and three counties.  

Lifelong Communities

Not to be missed is André Duany’s opening speech (available as an hour l0ng video) in which he updates the premises of New Urbanism in the context of healthy aging and active living.  

Supporting his long held principles with fact and figures, Duany describes the fruits of car-driven sprawl:  a shrunken tax base, failing municipal capacity, gated communities,broken grids,  dysfunctional HOAs, and NIMBY-ism.   He challenges us to find a retirement community in existence before 1950.  “Suburbia only works for adults in their middle years who can afford one car each,” says Duany.   If you can’t drive you have to leave.

The call to find ways to retrofit the suburbs for aging Atlantans has yielded a rich vein of analysis,  innovation, and actual plans.  Let’s take a good look and continue the discussion here.

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