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Thread: Best Cities for Successful Aging according to the Milken Institute

  1. #1
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    Best Cities for Successful Aging according to the Milken Institute

    http://successfulaging.milkeninstitu...taf?page=index

    This data-driven index - the first of its kind - measures and ranks the performance of 359 U.S. metropolitan areas based on 78 indicators that determine the overall quality of life for aging adults.

    Ninety percent of Americans want to age in place
    My fair city was ranked 44th in the small metro list.
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    It's not surprising that every city (including the top ranked) is seriously lacking when it comes to key "quality of life" factors for seniors.

    An obvious example: the most affordable cities tend to have lousy or non-existent public transportation. The cities with great transportation tend to be unaffordable for all but the fortunate few.

    Yet for the average senior, cost of living and transportation are arguably the most crucial issues -- especially as their nest egg and ability to operate a car evaporate. Forget about golf courses and Caribbean cruises. Most baby boomer / soon-to-be-seniors will be living off their social security check and modest savings at best (if they're lucky).

    The study's authors state that their intent is to help city planners. But is there a planner who doesn't already know their city is prohibitively expensive, the crime rate high, the commute times too long, or the bus service lousy? Does comparing New York's spotty rankings to Provo, Utah's spotty rankings (which is comparing apples to oranges) have any value?

    It's an impressive study in terms of scope. But truly useful? Hmm.
    Last edited by dilly; 04 Sep 2012 at 6:39 PM.

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dilly View post
    An obvious example: the most affordable cities tend to have lousy or non-existent public transportation. The cities with great transportation tend to be unaffordable for all but the fortunate few. .
    This gets me thinking about an article I'd like to write regarding "affordable urbanism", places in the country where one can enjoy vibrant, dense, amenity-filled urbanism, at prices that aren't of the extortionate levels seen in the West Coast, Northeast Corridor, or hipster- and techie-filled enclaves in between. Basically ...

    * Buffalo
    * Pittsburgh
    * Cleveland's urban suburbs (east suburban Heights 'burbs, Lakewood, Rocky River)
    * Columbus
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    The city here ranked almost at the top for tax burden but everything else was near the bottom. That totally doesn't surprise me and is pretty indicative of how things go around here.

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    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dilly View post
    It's not surprising that every city (including the top ranked) is seriously lacking when it comes to key "quality of life" factors for seniors.

    An obvious example: the most affordable cities tend to have lousy or non-existent public transportation. The cities with great transportation tend to be unaffordable for all but the fortunate few.

    Yet for the average senior, cost of living and transportation are arguably the most crucial issues -- especially as their nest egg and ability to operate a car evaporate. Forget about golf courses and Caribbean cruises. Most baby boomer / soon-to-be-seniors will be living off their social security check and modest savings at best (if they're lucky).

    The study's authors state that their intent is to help city planners. But is there a planner who doesn't already know their city is prohibitively expensive, the crime rate high, the commute times too long, or the bus service lousy? Does comparing New York's spotty rankings to Provo, Utah's spotty rankings (which is comparing apples to oranges) have any value?

    It's an impressive study in terms of scope. But truly useful? Hmm.
    Your point about public transportation is valid but Provo to NYC is a stretch unless you are a senior with children or family in Provo and NYC. This study also allows for comparisons of peer groups like NYC, Boston, Chicago, DC and SF or Phoenix to Denver, Miami, Salt Lake City and Seattle.

    One thing that bothers me about many think tanks and publications like The Atlantic or Slate is you have academics or journalists whose hobby is urban development. The write these great studies or 4 part investigative pieces but have never actually earned a paycheck on the topic. For a newspaper I understand where journalist report on all types of topics but the Atlantic writes constantly on the subject.
    "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less" General Eric Shinseki

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    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    This gets me thinking about an article I'd like to write regarding "affordable urbanism"
    I definitely wish someone would do it. Unfortunately, I doubt that academic studies such as the one we're discussing have much practical value outside of academia. And those upper middle class-targeted "Best Cities to Live the Good Life" articles offered by Money magazine and others aren't any better.

    For people living on a limited budget (especially the average senior citizen), affordability, basic amenities, and accessibilty are equally essential. In addition to the usual demographic / income /crime data, a truly useful survey or article would need to include:

    - Typical rent for an average one-bedroom apartment

    - Typical purchase cost of an average two-bedroom house

    - Average annual cost of residential heating (if not included in rent)

    - Electricity rate (average cost per killowatt hour)

    - Heating/cooking gas rate (average cost per therm)

    - Cable TV (average rate for basic service)

    - Public transportation, extent of services (number of routes, neighborhoods served, etc.)

    - Public transportation, frequency of service (weekdays, evenings, weekends)

    - Public transportation fares

    - Taxis and car services (average fare per mile)

    - Long distance transportation, proximity to downtown (airport, train station, bus station)

    - Shopping districts (geographic distribution and proximity to public transportation)

    - Food (current average cost for food “staples” - quart of milk, loaf of whole wheat bread, pound of apples, etc.)

    - Doctors (number per 1,000 residents)

    - Hospitals (number per 10,000 residents, number of beds, proximity to city center and public transportation)

    - Pharmacies (number, location, proximity to public transportation)

    - Public libraries (how many branches; proximity to public transportation)

    - Senior centers (number, distribution, proximity to public transportation)

    - Public parks (distribution, proximity to transportation)

    - Indoor recreation centers, free or low cost (geographic distribution, proximity to transportation)

    - Low cost / non-fast food restaurants, typical cost of popular items (cheeseburger deluxe, omelette, roast beef sandwich, large salad, large plain pizza, etc.)

    - Taxes (income and sales, state and local)

    - Overall walkability (distance from downtown to the point where closely spaced, easily walkable retail districts effectively “disappear”)


    And that's just for starters.


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    Last edited by dilly; 08 Sep 2012 at 6:08 PM.

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