Many of my Walkable Suburb posts are aimed at young families or families with school-aged kids, since these are generally the folks interested in backyards and good NJ public schools. I recently read a blog post on one of my favorite websites, though, that reminded me that walkable communities are good for all generations.
The post, on Walk Score, discusses the need to create or retrofit communities to accommodate the coming flood of retiring Baby Boomers. Author Jocelyn Milici Ceder points out that senior citizens who live in walkable communities tend to be happier and healthier than those who live in car-dependent ones. Why? First, walking to one's errands or entertainment is an easy way to get some exercise. People who walk as a mode of transportation are also likely to have more social encounters than those who drive everywhere. Having a car is not even necessary in a walkable community, which is a boon for seniors on a fixed income who no longer want to pay for gas and car insurance.
Aging Baby Boomers will naturally want to remain in their homes as long as possible. Since they are the generation that created suburbia, though, this means aging in communities that can be quite isolating. Considering their sheer numbers, it seems to me that walkable communities will be the wave of the future.