U.Va. Institute on Aging to Offer Free Public Forum on 'Aging in Place'

January 20, 2011 — The University of Virginia Institute on Aging, along with its partners in Livable for a Lifetime, will host a community forum on Jan. 24 related to their exhibition "Housing the Future: Reinventing Where We Age." The event is free and open to the public. It takes place from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the Charlottesville Community Design Center, 100 5th St. NE, on the Downtown Mall.

The forum will include a keynote address by Victor Regnier, a nationally renowned architect specializing in senior-friendly design, followed by a panel discussion with U.Va. faculty members and other experts from the fields of design, development and public health. In view of demographic shifts and lengthening lifespans, the forum will explore how housing characteristics, transportation choices, and architecture and urban design can make age-friendly communities.

The exhibition, on display through Jan. 31, incorporates research from the U.Va. School of Architecture's ecoMOD XS project, which has developed "extra small" prefabricated accessory dwelling unit prototypes to provide housing options for a wide range of ages and abilities. Content from North Carolina State University's Center for Universal Design is also part of the display.

Regnier, who holds a joint professorship between the University of Southern California School of Architecture and the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, is a teacher, researcher and architect who focuses his academic and professional life on the design of housing and community settings for older people. He will address the topic: "What do older people want?"

The panel includes:

• Nisha Botchwey, an associate professor in the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning in U.Va.'s School of Architecture. She specializes in community development and neighborhood planning and public health promotion. In her "Healthy Communities" seminar, students explore the connections between the built environment and health.

• John Quale, an associate professor in the U.Va. School of Architecture. He teaches architectural design studios, design/build studios and building technology courses. He initiated and serves as project director for the ecoMOD project. The recent ecoMOD XS project is one example of how ecoMOD has integrated "aging in place" for projects relevant in Charlottesville.

• Dr. Matthew Trowbridge, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at U.Va and a senior adviser within the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health. His research and advocacy focuses on the role of architecture and urban planning in public health, particularly with regard to traffic injury and physical activity promotion.

• Stephen Thomas, president of Stephen Thomas Homes in Richmond. He is committed to helping everyone understand the concepts of universal design and "Easy Living" and how these concepts benefit homeowners by inclusion in additions, renovations and new home construction.

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The U.Va. Institute on Aging sponsors efforts to understand and enhance the aging process throughout the human lifespan. The Institute acts as a catalyst and coordinator for interdisciplinary research, education, and service programs within the University and with a broad network of external partners.

Livable for a Lifetime (L4L) was launched as an initiative of The 2020 Plan: Aging in Community to promote change in the practice, policy, design, and construction of homes, businesses and communities to be more friendly for persons of all ages. L4L partners include the U.Va. Institute on Aging, the Jefferson Area Board for Aging, Piedmont Housing Alliance, Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, the Charlottesville Community Design Center, the Chamber of Commerce’s Aging in Place Business Roundtable, ARC of the Piedmont, and the Senior Center.

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