Infrastructure Needs, Priorities of Baby Boomers Aging in Suburbia

In the June 28th edition of the Washington Post, Carol Morello reports on the potential cultural shifts resulting from the suburbs growing older than cities as a result of the baby boomers aging in place (http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/if-baby-boomers-stay-in-suburbia-analysts-predict-cultural-shift/2011/06/27/AGeMLUoH_story.html).

Morello notes:

  • “The political ramifications could be huge as older voters compete for resources with younger generations.”
  • “When people think of suburban voters, it’s going to be different that it was years ago.  They used to be people worried about schools and kids.  Now they’re more concerned about their own well-being.”

Local governments have implemented a number of programs and initiatives in response to this trend, including changes in infrastructure.  Fairfax County, Virginia has converted its pedestrian traffic signals to countdowns so people can gauge whether they have enough time to cross.

For me, this article raises several compelling questions/issues including:

  • What are the infrastructure requirements for this generation as it grows older?
  • How do these requirements fit within or add to the continuing infrastructure challenges of meeting the demands of new development and making up for neglected maintenance?
  • How will these infrastructure needs be paid for?  Will some projects be more suitable for funding from general tax revenues while other from more targeted revenue sources such as user fees?  Will there be opportunities for public-private partnerships?

What are your experiences/thoughts/predictions on this topic?

Chris Cullinan

TischlerBise, Inc.

chris@tischlerbise.com

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