The Future (& history) of Housing /AARP

by Louis on December 7, 2015

I spent two days immersed in the AARP/ AARP Foundation /Atlantic Live event called the #FutureofHousing. Experts galore. Friends and new faces. Everyone passionate. Housing has huge problems. Demographics and growing income disparity make things worse. Yet things do change. I am bullish on what will come out of this. Most important? We were THERE!

I have been to similar conferences in the past. Some may think solutions seem unattainable.  For older citizens, for those who can’t find decent housing at all, let alone at a reasonable portion of their income,  for people of color, for the LGBT community and for people who love their neighborhood and family homes and face gentrification.

CastroSteve Clemons, Washington Editor-at-Large, The Atlantic interviews Julian Castro, Secretary, United Stated Department of Housing and Urban Development


Some are hard pressed to find a bright spot. Yet, in terms of housing older citizens with choice, dignity and control, awareness is up. The economy has changed in many ways that may make things better. Technology brings promises we never considered in the early 1990’s. I am energized by the dedication and the new enthusiasts!

So, I am grateful to the sponsors, the organizers, those who spoke and those who participated.  Will we find solutions? In time? I am not sure. One thing I know: We have to look out of the usual “toolkits” if we are going to make any big dents in the problem. We need out of the box solutions to succeed!

The workshop facilitators asked us to write commitments  for the year. I pledged any insight I can bring from my years of experience working with clients, families and building professionals. I also committed my history working with advocates and aging professionals. In that spirit and to help us avoid reinventing the wheel, I went into my “archives” (boxes) to review some of the reports and guides on this topic over the past 25 years.

I went into my archive box to help steer us out of the box for solutions. I am excited for 2016 and beyond!


2015 AARP Home Fit PDF free download


aip2.02010 Aging in Place 2.0: Rethinking Solutions to the Home Care Challenge, the visionary whitepaper I wrote for the MetLife Mature Market Institute


home fit 082008 AARP’s Home Fit Guide


MODS AARP2007 AARP’s  Home Modification


NCOA creative2007 National Council on Aging


Revised 2003…(I bet the original is much older), from the Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State, founded by Ron Mace who originally coined the term Universal Design. This piece was funded by National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research at the Department of Education (NIDRR). Richard Duncan, an educator and theorist then continues his efforts with the R L MACE Institute today.


practical2002 The Vital Aging Network at University of Minnesota


harvard medical2002 Harvard Medical School, but see this too

ASID2001 American Society of Interior Designers


Fixing to Stay2000 AARP Fixing to Stay


rick's 21999 this model home was built through the herculean efforts of Leon Harper, who spearheaded this work at AARP for MANY years and Rick Millard


Blueprint for Action1997 The Blueprint for Action was developed through a two day meeting sponsored by AARP at Georgetown University’s conference center. It was my first facilitated meeting—with AARP staff facilitators, and not unlike the Future of Housing meeting last week. This event pushed me to get an email address so I could join the home modifications list-serve, started by the IDEA Center at University of Buffalo School of Architecture as a result!


aarp don;t move…improve!1996 AARP


GE21995 GE was a big supporter working with Universal Design/ home mods world champion guru Mary Jo Peterson.


Margaret1994 Taunton Press, hard cover book publishers of Fine Homebulding magazine, written by the incredibly competent Margaret Wylde


NAHB RC1994 The National Association of Home Builders Research Center


access remo~1994 My sales brochure. I was one of the first design-build contractors in the country to focus my company on Aging in Place remodeling.



doable1991 The Do•Able Renewable came on the scene just as I was starting my focus 25 years ago!


As I am tuning this blog up for publication I realized I had not mentioned Jon Pynoos of, who was probably involved in more of these projects than any other single person. We don’t want to forget Jon’s leadership or put any of this good work “behind us”. We must use it is a foundation to spring into uncharted territory effecting world class change we are pride of.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mary Jo Peterson December 8, 2015 at 11:07 am

What a trip down memory lane. It’s interesting to review these publications and recognize that if we just incorporate these concepts, add what’s new in product and technology, we could have supportive housing stock. Still we have the growing numbers of elders and the growing need for services that support living at home, which really none of these resources mention. Thank goodness for you, Louis, spearheading our moves forward.


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