Sunday, July 4, 2010

Urbanization, Aging & City Planet

IAHSA's Global Aging Network blog had a recent post about China's Silver Tsunami and linked to CSIS articles on China's retirement policy and aging population.

I think it's cool that the IASHA blog is drawing on top-shelf foreign policy think tanks.  And I'm thrilled to have already found a way to enjoy my new career through the lens of culture and international relations, which are among my favorite subjects.

The IASHA blog had another post about 'Age Friendly Cities' but the link was misdirected.  A recent UN article explains:
The Global Network of Age-friendly Cities is part of the agency’s broader response to rapidly greying populations. The greatest changes are taking place in less-developed countries, and it is estimated that 80 per cent of the expected 2 billion people over the age of 60 will be living in low- or middle-income countries.
“Older people are a vital, and often overlooked, resource for families and for society,”
And the article refers us to the World Health Organization's page on age-friendly cities.

This is especially important due to the rapid urbanization of earth as described in an intriguing talk (audio here) by Stewart Brand on the City Planet (in PDF).

People are rapidly moving to cities all over the developing world.  Cities are still growing and the country-side is emptying even in the developed world.  What does this mean for providers of aging services?  What does this mean for Continuing Care Retirement Communities in North America?

It sounds like a huge opportunity if you have proven systems that deliver the experience of genuine community.  You can expand into new markets which are increasingly affluent.  Maybe CCRC's will locate in growing cities in order to benefit from an energetic young workforce.  (According to Brand, current population momentum means 2 billion additional people born in cities during the next decades.)  There could even be a growing niche for international destination retirement communities (a play on 'destination weddings').

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