In this weekend’s Wall Street Journal, had a land use article which caught my eye. Suburban style development with single family homes on relatively large lots – offering lots space privacy and home maintenance chores, but not much connectivity and community – is not so great for an aging population. In order to help folks “age in place” a few places are attempting to rebuild suburbia into walkable, compact, dense communities where people can fulfill basic shopping and social needs on foot, live near people of all ages, and make public transit more effective.
Northfield already has some of the good stuff the Atlanta area, for one, is trying to recreate. Ensuring that our downtown and surrounding neighborhoods remain vital and thriving will help make Northfield a place where we, too, can age in place. As we look to rewrite land development codes, how can we think about making our less accessible, less dense areas work better? It’ll take more than zoning, though, but also money, vision, and effort.