Sanctuary Communities Newsletter

“A place for all ages”!

Remember when that wasn't such a big deal?

For most of human history, places where people settled were designed to accommodate all ages. It was a matter of survival, taken for granted for the eons that our species evolved in community. But since the advent of the automobile and suburban sprawl, many folks retreated to enclaves segregated by income, building use, and age. The Young and the Cool live here. Couples with Kids live there. Seniors live over there in the "Active Adult" development until they have to move to the Home (which is anything but).

Now, however, with the largest, healthiest, and wealthiest generation in history entering their retirement years, we find ourselves talking about reassembling places for all ages. For the current older generation and the Boomers on their way to their senior years, the hot topic is "aging in place." The challenge is to retrofit old neighborhoods and make new ones so we can age with dignity and independence, connected with friends and activities we enjoy and contributing to the broader community.

Have you found yourself in conversations about that? We have. Almost all the folks who stop by and see us in Sanctuary Village have had it with suburban isolation and are ready to talk about reconnecting to community life. It's music to our ears, of course, because when we designed Sanctuary Village, we had all ages in mind. The only way to achieve that without charging and arm and a leg for add-on amenities like club houses, pools, health clubs, and a dedicated transportation system is to build somewhere where the amenities already exist. Like in a town with a Main Street you can walk to. So that's what we did. Sanctuary Village is planned as a walkable, mixed-use neighborhood within an historic mountain town. Given the amount of land required to achieve a complete neighborhood, we may have the only such place for a long time to come.

Retirement Lifestyles magazine

Strategies for comfortably aging in place make special sense for Franklin, which has attracted second-home owners and retirees from the flatlands for years. Retirement Lifestyles magazine just named Franklin as the top destination in North Carolina for retirees. And our local economic development folks are planning for steady growth in that demographic, which means new businesses to cater to the newcomers and new places to walk to from Sanctuary Village.

Designing neighborhoods with healthy aging in mind makes sense, both for individuals and for communities. When we live in compact, walkable neighborhoods, with most of our daily needs within a short stroll, we get more regular exercise. We also enjoy more fulfilling, mentally healthy lives because of our independence and because of our regular contact with others.

Growing Smarter, Living Healthier: A Guide to Smart Growth and Active Aging

Pushing for these kinds of communities is a no-brainer issue for the powerful retiree lobby. AARP has been touting "livable communities" for years. And now agencies with broad public health responsibilities are integrating community design into their overall strategies, as well. The Environmental Protection Agency just published a new booklet called "Growing Smarter, Living Healthier: A Guide to Smart Growth and Active Aging". And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is making a big deal out of planning communities for healthy aging. In fact, the CDC is partnering for the first time with the Congress for the New Urbanism to put on the annual gathering of planners, designers, and engineers who originated lots of these Smart Growth concepts.

The conference will be next May in Atlanta. We'll be there. Maybe we'll see some of you there, as well. But you don't have to wait till then to have a good conversation about healthy communities for healthy aging. Come by and see us, and we'll show you.

Tim and Iva Ryan
Town Founders

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Greetings from Franklin and the mountains of North Carolina
September 2009









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® Copyright 2010 The Sanctuary Communities, 17 Market Street. Franklin, NC 28734 Phone: (828) 349-4465

Traditional Neighborhood Development in the mountains Secluded lots in a gated community in the mountains