Since the launch of Age-friendly NYC in 2007, many of our initial initiatives have continued to grow and spread throughout the city. Our programmatic staff housed at The New York Academy of Medicine, with support from the Office of the Mayor, the Speaker’s Office, the Age-friendly Commission, and public and private partnerships, are responsible for continuing to sheperd this important work.
Here you’ll find information on our work on behalf of older adults to improve the built environment, strengthen learning and economic opportunities, as well as how to make cities more resilient for older adults.
Age-friendly Built Environment
The Design for Aging Committee of the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (AIANY) was founded in April 2010, with the goal to increase public awareness of the needs of the aging and elderly in an urban environment, by exploring beyond the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Universal Design Guidelines to accommodate diverse needs and to create a more age-friendly city. AIA members, AIA Associate Members, and non-members are all welcome to participate.
For more information, visit the AIANY site.
Public libraries are valuable local resources that provide educational and social opportunities for older adults to remain engaged in their communities. The New York City Public Library and Age-friendly NYC partnered to develop “10 Ways to Make Your Library Age-Friendly.”
Technology is the vehicle through which much of society communicates, conducts business, and increasingly exchanges information. However, with ever-changing advances, technology often creates a divide between generations, isolating many older adults from the younger generation and from key information and resources needed to function.
In March, the White House released the "President's Report on Independence, Technology, and Connection in Older Age". This groundbreaking document explores, analyzes and makes recommendations “intended to advance the use of technologies that would have great potential for improving [older] people’s lives,” according to the White House. As experts in aging in urban centers, Academy President, Jo Ivey Boufford, MD, and Lindsay Goldman worked to integrate a healthy aging perspective into the report that recognizes the potential for technology to maximize social, physical and economic participation and thereby prevent the onset of disability and dependence.
Age-friendly Urban Planning
The American Planning Association (APA) recognizes the importance of multigenerational planning to inform the creation and integration of housing, land-use, transportation, economic, social service and health systems that support a high quality of life for people of all ages and abilities.
Age-friendly NYC used this approach when working on the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan under the leadership of City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Community Board 11, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and Community Voices Heard.
For more information click below or visit our Resources section of this site:
Age-friendly Colleges and Universities
Older New Yorkers have voiced a strong desire to continue learning, access skills training, and participate in the rich and vibrant communities of colleges and universities.
New York City is home to more than 100 public and private colleges and universities, including America's largest public university system. The size, diversity, and resources of the educational sector in New York City present an enormous opportunity to enhance the quality of life of older adults and promote intergenerational connections.
The first Age-friendly NYC Commission’s working group on Schools, Colleges, and Universities chaired by Dean of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health Dr. Linda Fried, developed principles of an age-friendly college or university to help educational institutions better cater to an aging population, as well as AgefriendlyCollege.org , a searchable online directory of opportunities for older adults at New York City’s educational institutions.
Local businesses enable older people, who often have a limited catchment area for activity, to meet their basic needs, to socialize, and to support the economy. A recent study conducted by the Academy found that local businesses also depend on older people, who control nearly 50% of consumer spending in NYC ($70.1 billion annually), as loyal customers who often prefer to pay in cash and rely on word of mouth rather than paid advertising to learn about new establishments.
The Age-friendly Local Business Initiative provides resources and technical assistance to businesses and business-serving organizations on low- and no-cost improvements they can make to their marketing, ambiance, design, and overall consumer experience to better attract and serve an aging consumer base.
Read about what some NYC businesses have done:
Resilience in an Age-friendly City
"Resilient Communities: Empowering Older Adults in Disasters and Daily Life,” presents an innovative set of recommendations to strengthen and connect formal and informal support systems to keep older adults safe during future disasters. This unprecedented report looks at not just the vulnerabilities of older adults, but at the role many can play in leading and supporting their communities during disasters. Its findings are especially important for policymakers; city, state, and federal agencies; community and faith-based organizations; health care and housing providers; and emergency management personnel. While the report looks at the experience of older adults in New York City, it has implications for communities across the U.S.
The report recommends 12 action steps toward community preparedness, including establishing community planning hubs in each neighborhood, supporting landlords with large concentrations of older adults, enacting a pharmacy law for disasters, and consulting with home health care and hospice providers on emergency plans.
This report was funded by the New York Community Trust and the Altman Foundation.