The concept of a Main Street and walkable community is nothing new, but it's a piece of Americana that all but disappeared in many cities until recently.
The concept of a Main Street and walkable community is nothing new, but it's a piece of Americana that all but disappeared in many cities until recently. This week, leaders from Colorado's Front Range and the region attended a Livable Communities Summit to discuss how the state can build on the concept already seen in places around the Denver area. Nancy LeaMond, executive vice president for state and national groups, AARP, explained why livable communities are increasingly important. "So many of the things we're seeing around the country are focused on the renewal of the Main Street and seeing various services that are located in places where people can walk or get to in public transportation," LeaMond said. AARP hosted the Summit in Denver this week. According to the organization, 83 percent of people age 45 and older want to stay in their homes and communities for as long as possible. LeaMond pointed out that walkable communities with public transportation make that an attainable goal for older Americans. Roberto Rey with AARP Colorado noted that parts of the Denver metro area, such as Capitol Hill and Stapleton, already are employing strategies to make themselves more livable for all ages. "One of the really outstanding features is the level of cooperation that exists in the Denver region. There's just a tremendous amount of collaboration and willingness to learn from the best practices that are going on in different communities," Rey said. The current challenge facing Colorado is adding more public transportation for rural areas to make those areas more livable for everyone, Rey explained. LeaMond said the benefit of a livable community goes beyond older Americans. "We think this is a movement that's going to benefit all generations. Spurring it has been the aging of the population to think about what communities need to do to be livable for all ages," she said. According to AARP, walkable communities also increase the health and mobility of people who live in them.