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Lifetime Arts

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lifetimearts_photocredit_lifetimeartsphoto credit Lifetime Arts

Founded in 2008, Lifetime Arts promotes arts programming designed to engage older adults. A nonprofit organization, Lifetime Arts is committed to developing innovative programs which support creative aging and lifelong learning. To that end, Lifetime Arts offers a variety of services and programs. The organization is a clearinghouse for best practices; provides technical assistance, information services, and professional development to the individuals and organizations serving older adults through the arts; and helps to develop policy to enhance the quality of arts programs for older adults throughout the country.

As a service organization, Lifetime Arts developed Creative Aging in Our Communities: The Public Libraries Project, a program which demonstrates the viability and value of instructional arts programs offered in public libraries as a way to build a broad base of support for creative aging programming. The Public Libraries Project showcases the library as a center for access and learning for older adults; an “age-neutral” public space, the library is an accessible hub for older adults who are reluctant to go to senior centers, and is swiftly becoming an ideal center for programs that interest seniors.

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Walk Score has Launched New Neighborhood “Heat” Maps

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Walk Score has launched new neighborhood “heat” maps for over 2,500 cities and 6,000 neighborhoods which show graphically just how walkable they really are. Instead of the numerical scale that rates a location’s pedestrian friendliness from “Car Dependent” to “Walker’s Paradise,” Walk Score has developed a new system that incorporates heat maps showing where cities are more or less walkable. The greener the area, the easier one will find it to get from one place to another without the aid of an automobile.

These maps have potential to become powerful research tools for policy makers looking to make their regions more livable and sustainable by allowing them to see where areas are less accessible. Walkable cities are livable cities because they offer people alternative transportation options to driving from place to place. Walking and walkable neighborhoods offer many positives for improved health and community involvement all contributing to the creation of livable communities.
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Livability For the Rest of Us

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Discussions of livability typically focus exclusively on urban living, yet 20% of the country lives in rural areas or small towns. As speaker Rachel Goslins pointed out at Partners’ "Building Livable Communities” forum,  “It’s not necessarily true that a livable community is a city.” Goslins, the executive director of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, asked us all to consider what livability means for small towns and what urbanites can learn from them.

Her observation is a fitting one. Small towns fare well in many aspects of livability, boasting low crime rates, access to natural amenities, affordable housing and land, ease of mobility (for most), and engaged citizens with a strong sense of community. Yet there are many barriers to livability in small towns, as they strive to deal with changing demographics, the decline of traditional industries, environmental damage, and deteriorating infrastructure. These woes may sound familiar to residents of any size city, but the effect and the solutions for small towns are often different. Long distances between amenities, limited resources, and negative stereotypes about rural America can make these challenges more difficult to surmount. 
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