Roundtable: Multi-Generational Planning: Integrating Services for Residents of All Ages

Saturday, November 10, 2012: 1:45 PM-3:15 PM
Salon E (Radisson Plaza Lord Baltimore Hotel)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Organizers:  Katherine Swartz, Harvard University
Speakers:  Mildred E. Warner, Cornell University, Rodney Harrell, AARP Public Policy Institute, Cynthia Guy, Annie E. Casey Foundation and Ingrid Gould Ellen, New York University
Moderators:  Katherine Swartz, Harvard University

Municipalities of all sizes are simultaneously facing a fiscal crisis and a demographic transformation. Although the US population is aging, the number of school-age children in the US is the same as during the height of the baby-boom. Cities and towns need to enhance investments in children – while the aging population will create new demands on local service delivery. Fiscal pressures require new approaches to address the needs of the younger and older population cohorts. New integrated service delivery models may offer some promise. The purpose of this session is to focus on the need for community planning to more effectively deliver intergenerational services. The participants will discuss the needs for elder and child services in the coming decades (for example, transportation, easily walkable sidewalks and parks, buildings for after-school activities and activities for elders, housing that is intended to be multi-generational), what we know about demand and effective responses to those projected needs, and what we need to learn in order to promote effective innovations at all governmental levels. Examples of questions to be discussed include: Can we use integrated service delivery models to promote more effective services for elders and families with young children? What are the motivators and obstacles to multi-generational planning? What are the implications for physical planning, and changes in transportation, building codes and service delivery? Is there evidence that such municipal design changes promote good health for elders and reduced obesity among children? Surveys show that the majority of baby boomers would like to age in place. To do so they need affordable housing, transportation services, walkable streets, nearby services, appropriate recreational facilities and opportunities for civic engagement. These are the same community features young children and teens need for healthy development. Traditionally, however, services for children and elders have been responsibilities of separate government agencies. Federal aid is primarily focused on seniors (health care, social security), while state and local governments bear the primary burden for public investments in children (mostly K-12 education). But this siloed approach may not be the most effective nor efficient mode of service delivery. Research suggests substantial benefits from integrated program designs. Integrated programs also may offer some cost savings from economies of scope and scale. Some of the most promising examples of inter-generational planning have come from school-community collaborations. Importantly, in an era of tight public budgets, shared services may yield broader political support for program investment – especially at the community level. The participants proposed for this session bring a variety of relevant research experience and knowledge about children, the elderly, planning and design, and different government programs that serve different generations. A roundtable discussion exploring the issues of inter-generational service delivery would attract attendees from a number of APPAM’s traditional focus areas of children and family policy, education, health, aging, and housing and urban development.

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