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Age-Friendly Communities

In late 2006, PSU’s Institute on Aging (IOA) was approached by the World Health Organization (WHO) to participate in its global Age-Friendly Cities project. The project aimed at understanding the features of and barriers to age friendliness in the 33 cities in 22 countries that participated. Portland was the only U.S. city involved in the initial data collection effort for the first phase of this global project.

"Age-friendly cities and communities focus broadly on both the built and the social environment and include eight domains: housing, transportation, outdoor spaces, buildings, social participation, respect, social inclusion, civic participation employment, communication information, community support and health services."

2015 - Evaluating Your Age-Friendly Community Program - A Step-by-Step Guide.

A How-To Reference Guide for Every City no matter what size. - Margaret B. Neal, PhD, Iris Wernher.

In 2010, the WHO initiated its Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities, and Portland was accepted as one of just two U.S. cities (the other was New York) among the first group of six members. Portland was granted membership due to its participation in the original age-friendly cities project and due to the commitment of the Mayor, City Council, and the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability to collaborate, together with the IOA, to create an action plan for aging in the city. The action plan effort includes developing indicators to be used to monitor success over time (to be connected with the Greater Portland Pulse Project), and implementing changes aimed at creating a Portland for people of all ages and abilities. Draft versions of the action plan and indicators are intended to be completed by the end of 2012.



Guiding the age-friendly cities work is the WHO’s active aging framework (report: Active Aging: A Policy Framework); age-friendly cities and communities focus broadly on both the built and the social environment and include eight domains: housing,  transportation, outdoor spaces and buildings, social participation, respect and social inclusion, civic participation and employment, communication and information, and community support and health services.

For more information about age-friendly cities and the work of the IOA, several publications are available




Margaret Neal holding gift from PDX airport after consulting on making PDX age-friendly!