AARP recently concluded its comprehensive "Livability for All: The 2016 AARP Age-Friendly Community Survey" report, which surveyed residents age 50 and older in 11 metros across the country about the features of their current housing, the importance of community features, and the need gaps between present conditions and preferences.

The survey drills down into "eight domains of livability" the World Health Organization (WHO) has identified as being key to the quality of life of older adults, and reflects the views of 5,978 residents over the age of 50 from a total of 14 metros.

Note: Three of the 14 metros (Philadelphia, Washington County, and West Sacramento) surveyed residents age 45 and older, thus dipping into the Gen X population.

AARP's Age-Friendly Community Survey has interesting implications for municipal infrastructure planners and managers. Bottom line: Retirees desire public works features that many communities lack.

Across all markets, the majority of respondents would like "separate pathways for bicyclists and pedestrians," and "well-maintained public restrooms that are accessible to people with different physical abilities," but have no access to those features in their current community.

The importance and current presence of each feature varies by market. In Philadelphia, the biggest need is for accessible, well-maintained public restrooms, which are important to 94% respondents but available to only 17%. In Brownsville, Texas, boomers value Neighborhood Watch programs (94%), but only 22% of respondents live in a community that currently has a program in place.

Biggest "Need Gaps" for Outdoor Features

1. Well-maintained public restrooms with accessibility features:
Average % importance rating: 93%
Average % in current community: 31%
Average need gap: 62%

2. Separate pathways for bicyclists and pedestrians
Average % importance rating: 90%
Average % in current community: 37%
Average need gap: 53%

3. Public parks with enough benches
Average % importance rating: 90%
Average % in current community: 41%
Average need gap: 49%

4. Sidewalks that are in good condition
Average % importance rating: 95%
Average % in current community: 49%
Average need gap: 48%

You can see importance and current community presence ratings for the top four needed outdoor community features in all 14 markets below.

This article was originally featured on our sister site, BUILDER. Read the full article here>>