The Challenge:

Lack of investment in a supportive built environment, particularly in low-income and minority communities, often unnecessarily disadvantages residents and communities—physically, behaviorally and economically. Consequently, vulnerable communities disproportionately struggle to attain basic health, safety, and wellbeing.

The Principle:

We shall prioritize the creation and maintenance of enabling built environments in disproportionately impacted communities, as a vehicle for properly addressing the needs of disadvantaged residents and alleviating disparities. 

Watch Related Video

Virtual Dialogue 2: Alleviate Disparities
October 22, 2020
Featured Speakers

  • Dr. Antwi Akom, Professor and Founding Director of the Social Innovation and Urban Opportunity Lab (SOUL), University of California San Francisco, CEO and Cofounder, Streetwyze
  • Stacey Epperson, President and Founder, Next Step
  • Paul Williams, President and CEO of Project for Pride in Living
  • Dr. Bill Thomas, Lifesprk Independence Officer; Cofounder, ChangingAging (Moderator)
  • Stephanie Firestone, Senior Strategic Policy Advisor, Health & Age-friendly Communities, AARP (Host) 
  • Esther Greenhouse, Built Environment Strategist and Environmental Gerontologist; and Strategic Director, TC Age Friendly Center for Excellence (Introductory Remarks) 


Equity by Design: Rebuilding Housing and Communities Post-COVID-19

This AARP Thinking Policy blog by Stephanie Firestone addresses the issues discussed with experts during the first two Equity by Design dialogues: Enable By Design and Drive Informed Demand and Allieviate Disparities

Community Aging in Place—Advancing Better Living for Elders (CAPABLE) Program

CAPABLE is a program developed at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing for low-income seniors to safely age in place. 

Patuxent Commons

 A concept for a mixed-income community to be developed in Maryland for adults with disabilities, older adults, and younger adults and families that will provide affordable housing and a supportive community.


Nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender older adults, focusing on the issue of LGBT aging.


 “Our mission is to use pics, audio and video to connect with community, inspire creativity, bring joy, and transform the places and spaces where we live learn work, play and pray.”  A data-driven company for community organizations, agencies, and planners to connect with the community and discover Community-Led, Community- driven, Community-Generated Solutions that have massive social and economic impact.

Next Step

“Our mission is to put sustainable homeownership within reach of everyone, while transforming the manufactured housing industry through consumer education, affordability and energy-efficiency.”

Project for Pride in Living

Community-based organization in Minneapolis, MN that assists low-income residents with economic stability support through affordable housing and career readiness programs and services.

Rothstein, R. (2017). The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America. United Kingdom: Liveright.

The Color of Law offers “the most forceful argument ever published on how federal, state, and local governments gave rise to and reinforced neighborhood segregation.” It describes how the American government systematically imposed residential segregation: with undisguised racial zoning; public housing that purposefully segregated previously mixed communities; subsidies for builders to create whites-only suburbs; tax exemptions for institutions that enforced segregation; and support for violent resistance to African Americans in white neighborhoods.

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For more information about AARP's Equity by Design work, contact: 
Stephanie K. Firestone
, Senior Strategic Policy Advisor for Health and Age-Friendly Communites, AARP International.