Aging in Place: An Analysis of Land Use Accessibility in Madison, WI
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Introduction: Americans are living longer than they ever have before. By 2060, there are expected to be 98 million Americans aged 65 and over, twice as many as there were in 2015. Additionally, the 85+ population, which has historically been one of the smallest sectors of the population, is expected to increase to 20 million Americans by 2060 (Mather, Jacobsen, and Pollard,2015). With this growing aging population comes the desire to age in place. As defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), aging in place refers to the “ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level” (CDC -Healthy Places -Healthy Places Terminology, 2021). An important aspect of aging in place is the feeling of independence. With many American neighborhoods designed for cars rather than people, to be able to age in place, the elderly population who cannot drive need to be able to access various places nearby their residences or have accessible transportation options that allow for them to get to places on their own (Hirt, 2010). Compared to European cities, this is a unique problem to American cities as there is a lack of public transportation options and increased land use separation in the United States (Hirt, 2010). While the 65+ population could call cabs or rideshare services, these are often expensive and may be inaccessible. This thesis seeks to understand if neighborhoods in a relatively urban community, Madison, Wisconsin, are designed to age in place. In this investigation, I use areas within the Madison Urban Area that have high populations and densities of individuals aged 65 and older to analyze their ability to access potential land uses of interest via public transportation and walking with the Madison Urban Area Boundary.
aging in place
Advisor: Asli Gocmen. Includes Data Tables, Figures, Bibliography.