World Health Organization

As population aging and rapid urbanization continue to impact the demographic composition of metropolitan environments worldwide, it will become increasingly important for cities and communities to devise policies and programs to better meet the needs of their older residents.

In 2006, as part of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Age-friendly Environments Programme, an international effort to address the environmental and social factors that contribute to active and healthy ageing, the WHO created the Global Age-friendly Cities Project to encourage cities across the global to engage in discussions with older residents to identify strengths and challenges to facilitating healthy aging in urban environments. To view a checklist of the essential features of age-friendly cities, click here.

Rising to this challenge, in 2007, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and The New York Academy of Medicine launched Age-friendly New York City (NYC), after completing comprehensive assessment of the assets and challenges older New Yorkers face. The assessment was informed through guided conversations with over 1,500 older adults across NYC in six languages, roundtable discussions with hundreds of professionals, a literature review, and extensive mapping (click here to read Toward an Age-friendly City: A Findings Report).

In order to make improvements in the city, in 2010, a four-year Commission for an Age-friendly New York City was seated with leaders from the public and private sectors. The Commission has primarily focused on the areas of: Age-friendly Businesses, Age-friendly Schools, Colleges and Universities and Aging Improvement Districts. Learn more about Age-friendly NYC, it’s initiatives, and activities. Columbia Aging Center faculty member and Dean of the Mailman School of Public Health, Dr. Linda Fried serves as an Age-friendly NYC commissioner.