The Environmental Protection Agency awarded four communities for their achievements in implementing principles of smart growth that encourage active aging. The city of Charlotte, North Carolina, and Brazos Valley Council of Governments, Texas, received the achievement award. The award is given to a public sector, neighborhood, or nongovernment organization that shows superior achievement in building healthy communities supporting active aging. The Fairfax County (Virginia) Department of Neighborhood & Community Services and the Philadelphia (Pennsylvania) Corporation for Aging received the commitment award, which recognizes groups that are in the planning stages of building active communities.
The city of Charlotte has built 16 miles of greenways, 88 miles of bike facilities, and 106 miles of sidewalks. By retrofitting dozens of streets, increasing the size of signage along roads, and adding ramps to sidewalks, the city has improved the streets’ friendliness to older citizens. Through a participatory planning process, Brazos Valley Council of Governments, a group of communities in Texas, has created a volunteer escort service for seniors, a wheelchair-accessible trail system, and a revitalized downtown. Fairfax County Department of Neighborhood & Community Services created a community-based program that uses already-available resources to host active senior programs, which serve more than 170 older adults. Philadelphia Corporation for Aging has developed the Age-Friendly Parks Checklist, promoted accessible dwelling units in the new zoning code, developed senior-friendly bus shelters, and created accessible community gardens.
For more information, go to http://www.epa.gov/aging/bhc/awards/2010/#about.