The Challenge:

The status quo of our housing and communities is largely “dis-abling,” yet other options are limited as is consumer demand.  

The principles:

Built environment professionals should design housing and communities to enable people of all ages and abilities to function at their highest levels, and drive consumer demand by demonstrating innovations that advance this goal.

Watch Related Video

Virtual Dialogue 1: Enable By Design & Drive Informed Demand
September 24, 2020
Featured Speakers

  • Dr. Mariela Alfonzo, Founder and CEO, State of Place
  • Henry Cisneros, Former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and Co-Chief Investment Officer and Chairman, American Triple I Partners
  • Ifeoma Ebo, Urban Designer, Strategist and Founding Director of Creative Urban Alchemy
  • 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

Design, dignity, dementia: Dementia-related design and the built environment

The 2020 World Alzheimer Report from Alzheimers Disease International (ADI) includes 84 case studies from 27 countries, looked at design in home/domestic settings, day and residential care, hospitals and public buildings and spaces. The report covered design principles, pioneers and innovators, cultural context, a perspective from low- and middle- income countries. 

Universal Design Living Laboratory

Founded by Rosemarie Rossetti, PhD and her husband, Mark Leder. The UDLL is located in Columbus, OH.

Designing Environments for Dementia

This list is a reviewed collection of articles, books, web resources, and videos prepared by the Alzheimer's Association Green-Field Library staff.

The impact of improved lighting on minimizing environmental press associated with the visual deficits of Alzheimer's Disease

A research study on the use of lighting to minimize environmental press for persons with dementia and increase their independence and level of functioning.

Quick Guide: Low Costs of Visitability

Breakdown of the costs of retrofitting versus building new housing.

Universal Design Certified Professional Online Program hosted by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI

The Universal Design Certified Professional Program addresses the key concepts of Universal Design as applied to residential remodeling.

Universal Design Essential Online Course, National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)

The concepts discussed in this course will enable industry professionals to produce marketable projects that support clients' changing needs over their lifetime.

State of Place

Software that uses urban design data and predictive analytics to help citymakers create livable, equitable, and sustainable places quickly, effectively, and efficiently.

Cisneros, H., Lubell, J., Bowdler, J. (2017). Building Equitable Cities: How to Drive Economic Mobility and Regional Growth. United States: Urban Land Institute.

The book provides real-world examples of both place-based and people-based strategies that are being used successfully to provide more equitable outcomes.

Klinenberg, E. (2018). Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life. United States: Crown.

In Palaces for the People, Klinenberg shows how “social infrastructure” is helping to solve some of our most pressing societal challenges. 

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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.