The aging baby-boomer population of Nashville, and across the United States, has created a demographic shift in recent years. In 2000, the majority of Nashville’s population was an age group of 21-34, greatly outnumbering those 65 years and older by more than half. It is estimated by 2018 that both age groups will be equal in number. This dramatic shift has been an incentive for cities across the country to reexamine the livability of their communities and implement changes to meet the universal needs of a multi-generational citizenry. The city of Nashville has been no exception in examining the needs of an ever-changing population. As a result, The Nashville Livability Project, an initiative by Mayor Karl Dean and Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors, was created in 2009 following the research and recommendations of the Livable Community Task Force. Since inception, it has been the goal of the Nashville Livability Project to address the issues of the aging Nashville population and examine the obstacles in creating a more livable and universally designed city for all generations, community by community.
From AARP’s A Report to the Nation on Livable Communities:
“Unless America makes a commitment to livable communities, baby boomers and other persons of a range of ages and with a variety of abilities will find it difficult to age successfully and remain engaged with their communities. The shortage of affordable and well-designed housing, mobility options, and opportunities for community engagement make it difficult for persons to maintain independence and a high quality of life. On the other hand, those communities that design for livability empower their residents to remain independent and engaged, and offer a better quality of life.” In an effort to improve the quality of life for the people of Nashville, the Nashville Civic Design Center, partnered with The Nashville Livability Project, facilitated a series of public workshop charrettes to address the livability concerns of the Madison and Sylvan Park communities; these communities were chosen for their dynamic make-up of citizens that span both younger and baby-boomer generations. The public workshops focused on livability concerns such as housing types, healthcare, transportation, walkability, food access, active learning, civic organizations, entertainment, convenience, safety, technology, and beautification.
After addressing their livability concerns, the community members then compiled a final list of recommendations for improving their respective communities in a manner that would allow all citizens to live cohesively and independently while fostering strong communities for future generations. To read the Livable Community Task Force report, “Creating a Livable Community for All Ages: The Nashville Livability Project,” please visit: