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Thought Leadership Region Matters

The Critical Importance of Lifelong Communities to Our Region

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By Kate Sweeney

It seems like a simple concept: Build neighborhoods that can accommodate people across all stages of life — from toddlers, to twenty-somethings, to those past retirement.

Regional planners call them “lifelong communities.” Too often though, neighborhoods in metro Atlanta fail to live up to this promise.

Many communities lack the sidewalks and transportation options needed by those of us who don’t — or can no longer — drive. And few offer the mix of housing types and price points needed to appeal to a broad range of incomes — much less adaptive features like ramps and wide doorways to accommodate wheelchairs.

This challenge is often framed as an issue specific to aging — (lifelong communities are also sometimes called “age-friendly”) —  and so it’s of little surprise that it’s gained traction here in metro Atlanta, where one in four of us will be 60 or older by 2030.

But neighborhoods that are pedestrian-friendly, affordable, and accessible to public transportation? These are hardly just an “aging” thing; rather, they’re booming in popularity among all age groups these days. Read on.

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