Saturday, August 11, 2007

Ageless Pittsburgh

Interesting post over at CEOs for Cities blog about catering to the Boomers demographic. Co-author of Generation Ageless, Walker Smith, comments on how cities might take advantage of untapped geriatric energy and ambition:

The biggest impact might be to invest in infrastructure that makes is possible for Boomers to live independently -- mass transit; easy access to services; networks and communities; activities and entertainment. At the same time, urban leaders must remember that Boomers have highly developed tastes, so they will want these basic services delivered with a luxury look and feel.

Demographic bets are risky, but Pittsburgh would do well to diversify its target markets for encouraging regional growth.


joe said...

I liked the first (and so far only) comment left on that original CEO for Cities post:

"But the analysis sounds typically boomer-ish: overly optimistic, ignorant of challenges, and self-indulgent."

What's this nonsense about "a luxury look and feel" -- is that what comes to mind when people think of Pittsburgh? I don't think so.

And here's the deal: That's a GOOD thing, as I'm willing to bet that for the vast majority of the Pittsburgh diaspora, the notion that Pittsburghers don't put on airs is something they cherish and miss as a lived experience during their stylized suburban experience in Anywhere, USA.

Since this is about the Diaspora, are we talking about Boomers moving back? The "networks and communities" that now exist are built in no small part on the foundation of their parents' daily experience here, which for the vast majority involves some elements of what folks are now calling the "long-term living" system.

More on today's elders and their Boomers children in the Diaspora here:

Curious Centre Crossings

Has there ever been a survey of former Pittsburghers? Maybe we could involve the local elders in surveying their children and grandchildren who have moved away, working with local long-term living organizations to reach them?

Jim Russell said...

All solid ideas. My take is that this demographic is underappreciated and could be a strong asset to the Pittsburgh region.

How to best leverage this advantage is an open question. As you point out, there are many possibilities.