25 September 2009

Reader email (from an architect designing integrated housing)

Dear Mr. Blechman:

I wanted to drop you a quick note to let you know how much I enjoyed reading Leisureville. It was humorous while raising very real concerns about how we as a society engage, or disengage, with each other especially during the retirement years.

As an Architect on Cape Cod who designs a wide range of community facilities (ie, community & senior centers, libraries, churches etc..) and housing from modest single family homes to multi-unit and affordable housing developments, I am always interested in housing trends and the social forces which affect the design process and how people live, work and socialize.

Our firm has had the good fortune over the last few years to have aligned with a local non-profit housing developer (Housing Assistance Corp.) to design and build several housing developments and our team discussions are always about "fostering community" among the "age integrated" residents and building well designed and environmentally responsible housing.

After reading your book, it made me appreciate all the more that we are living in and developing real community buildings and housing for real people "warts and all". Developing affordable housing for lower income individuals and families is a real challenge and NIMBYism, even here on Cape Cod is alive and well. Your book has helped to re-energize my work.

Rick F
Yarmouthport, MA

Making Suburbia More Livable

"The nation's sprawling suburbs may have been a good place to grow up, but they're a tough place to grow old. Here's how towns are beginning to 'retrofit' their neighborhoods—and what your community might look like in the future."
-- The Wall Street Journal

Builders of homes for younger retirees still adjusting to downturn

14 September 2009

More interesting reader comments

An excerpt from a reader who lives in an age-segregated community in San Diego.


"Our 55+ is now 25 years old, and there is serious conflict between what is called the "young-old" group (the next generation recently moved in) vs. the "old-old" group who were the community founders (and are close to very old age). The younger group wants to keep it active and believes that it is just a stage before eventually moving to non-active retirement living. The older group wants to put in/keep in place substantial elements of assisted living."
There is one more item that may be only a peculiarity to our community (unlikely) and that is: Stealing is a problem for the elderly; leave an item unattended and it is very likely to disappear. (I have personally lost two jackets, golf clubs accidently left around the greens, kitchen items brought to pot lucks, etc.) these are not destitute people so it must be for the thrill of it or the attention one gets when caught. (and there is almost no consequence to an older person for getting caught.) the only conclusion I can reach is that there are a number of lonely, unhappy people isolated in their retirement utopias.