Author Archives: drschweitzer

About drschweitzer

Lisa Schweitzer is an assistant professor at the School of Policy, Planning and Development at the University of Southern Calfornia. She studies sustainable cities and transport.

Wheat bread sucks: a (particularly childish) manifesto

Ok, I have a million ideas today, and I have to work on the book, but I have recently moved to eating a vegan diet as much as possible* because I just hate the animal exploitation that goes into meat. And it’s not good for me, and my state has no water, and so forth, and so on. It’s not about you. I’m not judging you. Ok? We can start there.

Now, I know that the picking and choosing of what food to eat and not eat is a signal of socio-economic privilege, and I understand that, and I’m usually among the first to roll my eyes way the heck on up in my head when dealing with a Californian who needs to be all ordering off the menu with a dozen requirements for every silly thing from what shape plate they want to switching out cilantro pesto for regular pesto even though the restaurant doesn’t have any damn kind of pesto to begin with.

With that kind of silly crap going on, lines at a sandwich counters stretch on forever, with spoiled brat Californians happily blithering on about their whatever intolerance while the rest of are starving to death in line behind them, desperate to go back to work, while they turn getting a stupid sandwich into a transaction that takes longer than refinancing your mortgage when you have bad credit. I normally love me some Californians, but never, ever, in a sandwich line. It’s a sandwich. it is not a life-changing experience. CAN WE MOVE ON HERE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD?

It is thus a matter of some personal (albeit silly) pride of mine that I just ask for a #5 on white, or whatever. On white. Because I hate wheat bread. I always have.

A recent sandwich line innovation, however, has them picking the bread for you. #5s in the world now come on various and sundry buns, and if you don’t want whatever bread product they have chosen, for reasons of economy and to make it clearer to everybody on the sandwich assembly side of things just what kind of sandwich they are supposed to be making here, you have to issue a dreaded special request.

So it is with a great deal of irritation that my self-satisfied, low-maintenance sandwich line rule of never fussing about with special requests during a lunch rush hits up against the hard brick wall of that fact that every single damn vegan sandwich in the world comes on $@!#!! loathsome wheat bread. While you meat eaters are granted rosemary focaccia and Dutch “crunch” buns, BBQ tofu or a simple pile of stupid vegetables always, inevitably, have to be served on wheat effing bread.

I’m dying inside a little inside here anyway: I’m not one of those vegan converts who recoils primly in horror at the very idea of polluting this here temple with animal flesh. This here temple is already way the hell polluted, and I’ve had a jolly good time doing it, thank you, and giving all that up as a concession to age is no small loss.

There are days when I look up, and instead of my students’ faces, I see a whole classroom of cheeseburgers instead, with side helping of biscuit and sausage gravy. Ok? So when I am ordering my whatever little pile of yummy, yummy, healthy raw (or cold slimy cooked) vegetables, I’m already feeling somewhat deprived by the whole deal. The last thing I need to have is my little pile of vegetables served on stupid wheat bread.

I’m Ron freaking Swanson trapped in a body that won’t let me eat what I want.

I get why restaurants do this sort of thing. They are playing the odds, and the odds are that a person who, when confronted with lovely, savory, delicious meat will choose the pile of flavorless veggies is also a person who is going to burst into rapturous praise of -effing wheat bread. “It’s sooooooooooooooo much healthier, like ZOMG, it’s so much more like what our caveman ancestors ate” and “It has sOOOOooooOOOOOooooOOOOooooooooo much more flavor” (yeah, bad flavor) “How can anybody eat that insipid white bread?” blah blah blah. You can find both my husband and my mother in this group, and I wish they’d shut the hell up. (Well, about wheat bread and how I should like it.)

My choice in life is now to eat my sad vegetable sandwich (no cheese, even) made even more disappointing by yucky wheat bread, or become one of the legion of special request whiners cluttering up the world with their ever-so-special demands, thus lengthening every sandwich line I join and forcing all others, who just want to grab a sandwich and get back to freaking work, to wait while I say, “Can I have that on (insert bread that doesn’t suck), instead?” and the minimum wage slave assembling sandwiches has to either explain that yes, I can, or no, I can’t.

RRRRrrrrrr.

*I say as much as possible because it’s hard, and I’m not perfect, so if you see me in an airport grabbing a slice of pizza, please don’t come up to me and say “I thouuuuught you saiiiiiiiid you were a vegan, but this just proves you’re a hypocrite, so there!” Remember: not about you. Trying to forestall the triple bypass here. Ok? Trying to feel less bad about dead animals. You work your program, I’ll work mine. Or not. LIVE FREE OR DIE DAMMIT.

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Launching on my special study of Aristotle for a few months

I’m going back to the Nichomachean Ethics after a 20-year break. I’m going to spend the next couple of months doing a special study of this book, the Eudemian Ethics, and the Magna Moralia.

Don’t ask how the book is going, just don’t.

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Christian Matheis on justice, race, and public policy

As many of you know, I was fortunate enough to be a Virginia Tech for awhile, and one of the most wonderful features of Virginia Tech is their ASPECT (The Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought) group that draws together researchers from fields across the university in conversation about social, political, ethical, and cultural thought. By far, ASPECT had for me the most in-depth and interesting intellectual engagement at VT.

I still follow their activities, and one that caught my eye this morning comes from PhD student , whose wonderful website can be found here. (I have got to get going on a website. I am the world’s most disorganized person.) Christian’s blog post appears at RE: Reflections and Explorations, and his piece is entitled: Public Policy, Racial Justice, and Liberatory Thought:
By what criteria can we call public policy properly ‘anti-racist’?
. There is much here worth reading, including:

When informed by liberatory thought, individuals and groups engaged in social movements advocate for wholesale change: ethical respect and due moral regard, institutional shifts that broaden access to shares of political rule, and for the feasibility of governance by those formerly oppressed, marginalized, targeted, and otherwise deemed unworthy or incapable of fair and decent conduct as the primary architects of politics.

Go read.

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I’ve been reading about vaccines

I recently butted heads with a person making excuses for the anti-vaxxers, with the typical “Big Bad Pharma” routine, and I suddenly realized that I had really strong opinions on the subject.

This story from Australia reinforced my views.

This child died for no reason, just like every kid who dies in car crashes. At least with cars we have the utility associated with high levels of mobility–like that’s commensurate, somehow, but at least it’s something. In the case of vaccines, the utility is in free-riding.

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“Nourishing the spirit” versus “Fostering one’s career”

I won’t pretend that I don’t think William Deresiewicz’s evidence for his book, Excellent Sheep, is thin and overstated. Nonetheless, I don’t disagree with the problems of neoliberalization of higher education he highlights. I’m just not sure what to do about it.

This review by George Scialabba in Foreign Affairs strikes me as actually more insightful than the book:

College, in Deresiewicz’s view, is supposed to be the place where one discovers an allegiance to something larger than oneself: service to a community or a cause, the practice of art or science or scholarship. The problem is not merely pedagogic but political: unless American elites are dedicated to something larger than themselves, an American commonwealth is impossible.


and:

Deresiewicz notes the mass migration of elite college graduates to careers in finance and consulting: at many Ivy League universities, at least a quarter of all students go into those fields after graduation. Deresiewicz believes that these shifts have occurred not because students find economics, finance, and business intellectually or morally fulfilling but because they fear that holding out for more interesting work would be too risky, or because they must pay off student loans, or simply because, in a winner-take-all society, who wouldn’t want to be one of the winners?

and:

Many readers will have murmured to themselves by now: “Yes, I’ve heard all this talk about souls and individuality and self-creation before: very inspiring. And I’m well aware that severe economic inequality is a feature of contemporary American life. But what does Deresiewicz propose? If he had the authority and the resources to change American universities, how would he go about it?” 



I guess I don’t think that it’s impossible to both nurture the spirit and help a young person get ready for a career. I think it’s possible to learn Excel and Aristotle. Why not?

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Satire alert: Scott Walker sells off Bucky the Badger to Geico

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Citing the need for more business-oriented solutions to the obvious problem of a highly ranked and otherwise successful public institution of higher learning, the University of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker today announced that he is authorizing the sale of the school’s beloved mascot, Bucky the Badger, to online insurance giant Geico. Bucky will replace their former animal mascot, a gecko with a posh English accent known to his friends as “Geck.”

Walker states that this move secures him as somebody who has bravely fixed what wasn’t broken so that it can be broken so that he then can have credit for fixing it. “I’m just the man for this sort of thing.” He noted, throwing down double finger guns.

Bucky issued a statement through his agent today that he’s excited for the new opportunity to make a difference on the national stage. Sources close to the badger report that Bucky is thrilled with the move: “I’m tired of just seeing myself on TV when UW pulls their shit together to get to the NCAA playoffs. That’s, what? Once a year, man, or maybe twice. How am I supposed to bank any serious coin hooked up to an academic institution? I’ve got, like, six cows and 237 cubs to support.”

Former mascot Geck the gecko responded to this news from his loft in the boggier bits of the Thames in London: “Geico and I have had a wonderful working relationship. I’m so grateful for all the time we’ve had. It’s been a few years since they have really needed me, what with their Cavemen and other stellar personnel. I’m looking forward to new projects, and, frankly, more time for myself. I wish Bucky all the best in the future.”

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Geico marketing staffers noted that this parting message was typical of the urbane and gracious Geck, and insiders expressed some worries about working with the pugilistic badger. “Have you ever seen that badger crack a smile? No, you haven’t. It’s always been “Fight! Fellows! – fight, fight, fight!” with that guy.”

University of Wisconsin staffers say that there is no plan to replace Bucky, even though it wouldn’t really cost anything, because doing so would interfere with the high-profile austerity symbolism surrounding Walker’s announcement, and potentially undermine the impact of his finger guns.

There is, however, a new plan to have members of the business community sponsor the University with donations that entitle them to have their names engraved on individual blades of grass on the quad.

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Sonia Hirt’s comparative land use

So I’ve been reading away on Sonia Hirt’s 2014 book

Zoned in the USA: The Origins and Implications of American Land Use Regulation, and finding it quite helpful. Sonia was one of my colleagues at Virginia Tech, and she’s really a wonderful thinker. She’s from eastern Europe, and she’s from architecture, which means she has a unique way of looking at land use and American practices in a way that helps us see things we normally don’t.

I’m not that far into yet, and I’ve been a rotten reader and have been reading out of order, but so far, she’s focussed in on the American cultural aspects of zoning. I’m never sure how to evaluate these sorts of claims about cultural predilections. They feel apt enough, but then there’s the nagging question of how you seek and formulate evidence, a common enough complaint about cultural histories, where charges of essentialism loom.

The book’s organization is a bit surprising, which is one reason I’ve been jumping about a bit; you start with how American zoning works. This is a very nice chapter for planning students, along with the subsequent chapter, on how other, most European, countries approach zoning. The last chapters have to do with explaining the beginnings of zonings, so that it’s a bit inverted. I think the structure does work, particularly for students.

Zoned in the USA The Origins and Implications of American Land Use Regulation Sonia A Hirt 9780801479878 Amazon com Books

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Johnny Cash and the last word on open carry

(and ALWAYS LISTEN TO YOUR MOM)

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The political uses of apocalypse: a reading list to be going on with

My Facebook page has become a clash of cultures between my deeply religious relatives and other secular friends over one of those memes that people send about. Memes are always reductive, and they are usually a shorthand form of political communication, designed to score points off of the satirized viewpoint among people who agree with you rather than convince people who don’t. This one had to do with the apocalyptic arm of the contemporary GOP and its focus on supporting Israel not as a freestanding state designed to be a homeland where the Jewish people (to the degree that we may speak of peoples in the Rawlsian sense of the word) have self-determination, but as the ground zero of the end times for all the worthy Christians waiting to be raptured.

This of course annoyed the Christian conservatives who refuse to be painted with this brush (of course not), but apocalyptic thinking is so rooted in western politics that it’s hard to ignore the sticky problem the meme presents, however rudely, about the central problem of apocalypticism in politics.

There are explicit forms of apocalypticism among people who think we physically are on the clock, winding down, which induces fatalism with regard to progress. We have good evidence that Jesus Christ was an apocalyptic thinker, which makes much of the social program he outlines difficult to apply millennia later: if the end times are coming, of course you can give away all you own. You shan’t need that coat, anyway. But in a world that rolls on an on, you just might.

There are also implicit forms apocalypticism that treat disaster thinking as an inherent set of assumptions about the way the world is going. As my colleague, Martin Krieger, points out, you can see apocalypticism in lots of environmental discourse, particularly climate change. And to some purpose: disasters do happen, societies do die, as do cities.

In this way, I tend to think of apocalypticsm as a parallel to utopianism. I’m influenced here by Richard Gunn’s thought piece on the topic (pdf download.) I don’t think they are obverses; I do think they tend to run in tandem because of the influence that heaven and hell influences have on Judeo-Christian thought and attitudes, and, thus, on how people think society might progress or can progress (or not) and thus on the way they think about politics.

And then: ZOMBIES.

There’s a goodly bit of utopianism and apocalypticism in urban studies, which is one reason I find both so interesting: The Life and Death of Great American Cities is an exemplar. Life. DEATH. ZOMBIES.

Here are some things to read if you like this sort of thing:

Genesis 5:21-24 and 6:1-8

Ezekiel 37-39; Isaiah 24-27; Zechariah

Daniel 2, 7-12 (Bible);

4 Ezra (= 2 Esdras 3-14)

John’s Apocalypse, esp. chs. 1-3, 12-18 (Revelation in the New Testament); 1 Thessalonians, esp. chs. 4-5 (for Paul’s apocalyptic worldview);

Norman Cohn, Cosmos, Chaos and the World To Come: The Ancient Roots of Apocalyptic Faith. 2nd edition. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001.

John J. Collins, The Apocalyptic Imagination: An Introduction to Judean Apocalyptic Literature. 2nd edition. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998.

Elaine Pagels, Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation (Viking, 2012)

Eugene Weber. 2000. Apocalypses: Propheicies, Cults, and Millenial Beliefs Throughout the Ages. Havard University Press.

Harrison, J.F.C. 2013. The Second Coming: Popular Millenarialism 1780-1850. Routledge.

There is so much writing on contemporary Christian apocalypticism that I don’t know where to begin. I have always liked:

Daniels, Ted. 1999. A Doomsday Reader: Prophets, Predictors, and Hucksters of Salvation. NYU Press.

But it’s an older book. Anybody have suggestions?

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53 ways to foster an age-friendly city

My 628 class (Urban Planning and Social Policy) put together some ideas for making cities more age-friendly. This is what they came up with:

As the World Health Organization (WHO) states in their “What makes a city age friendly”:

“cities are complex organisms that rely on effective interaction between people’s homes, the possibilities of communication and travel, the availability of appropriate services and also the less tangible, yet vitally important, influences such as a sense of belonging, security and the kindness of others.”

As a much larger proportion of the population becomes 55 or older, cities must place a larger focus on the aged to ensure a happy and healthy population. Through working with and consulting with stakeholders of all age groups, we have created a holistic approach to an age-friendly city that will enhance the health, and financial security for the aged.

According to the WHO, age friendly cities embody the following:

  • Recognize the wide range of capacities and resources among older people
  • Anticipate and respond flexibly to ageing related needs and preferences
  • Respect older people’s decisions and lifestyle choices
  • Protect those who are most vulnerable; and
  • Promote older people’s inclusion in and contribution to all areas of community life

In identifying the proposals to help make cities more “senior friendly,” we decided to use these criteria:

a. In-home accommodations to meet daily needs;

b. Accessible and affordable public transportation and social opportunities in the community;

c. Available applicable services, ie. elevators, handicapped parking spaces, etc.;

d. Public safety and an inclusive sense of community (Biggs and Tinker, 2007).

So here’s the big list:

1. One-Stop-Shop for Services: Understanding that getting around and finding the answers to important questions often requires multiple organizations working together; the City will construct community buildings that serve as one-stop-shops for senior citizens. They will function both as a social gathering place and source for information, referrals and as appropriate in-building delivery for services most prioritized by seniors. This might include information about doctors and healthcare, housing, banking or finance advisors, as well as educational and social workshops.

2. Events for All Audiences: So often family-friendly events are developed with children and young adults or families in mind. These events are often designed to include audiences that might have trouble walking over large areas or getting around at night. An age friendly world is one in which all people of all ages are able to actively participate in community activities . The city will promote one time and annual events during the day and late afternoon with public transportation available and reduced or free pricing. The design of the event will also ensure parking that is closer and on even ground to provide access for anyone with physical challenges. Walkways to the event will be monitored wheel chairs will be available free of charge. Bathrooms and rest areas will be set up throughout the event. The city is also activity working with neighborhoods to promote smaller neighborhood social events that generate inclusion and social respect for all generations.

3. Support for families providing eldercare. Often the family members most active in taking care of their elderly family members live in other parts of the state or country and are unsure of the quality of the services they are looking into. The city will design an app and online tool that is a service director of organizations and companies in the city. It will also allow for reviews and ratings so that family members and primary caretakers can be surer of the quality and level of service they are getting for their family member. These sorts of technologies have already been created in other sectors. For example, Yelp provides a range of information about consumer services.

4. Door-to-door services that improve quality of life: From basic medical to homecare services and grocery shopping, if you have limited mobility these needs are hard to meet. The City will institute infrastructure and tax credits which prompt companies to think creatively about getting their services to the doors of people who need them.

5. Mobile pet care. Pets can improve quality of life for animal lovers. Programs that foster pet care organizations to make sure seniors have access to care for their pets and animals could be given credits at tax time and free advertising in city communication.

6. Consumer Protection and Advocacy Task Force: Seniors may be the most vulnerable when it comes to identity theft, credit fraud, and other targeted financial threats. They also may not have access to the same information and know-how younger generations have. The city will set up a task force to research and identify specific mechanisms to protect seniors from these threats to make sure they are informed and able to protect what they have worked for.

7. Age-friendly building codes. Buildings must be appropriately designed for equitable use by everyone. Specific improvements for senior citizens include non-slip floors, bathrooms that are accessible, railings that are prominently placed in appropriate areas, ramps, and easily accessible elevators. According to research published in the Journal of Urban Health, “The city’s landscape, buildings, transportation system, and housing contribute to confident mobility, healthy behaviors, social participation, and self-determination, or, conversely, to fearful isolation, inactivity, and social exclusion.”

8. Ensure that at least some public spaces retain a quiet, communitarian, age-friendly environment: parks that are quieter, possibly a bit removed from major streets (or more secluded/quiet parts of larger parks), ample seating and shade are nice places to rest and relax away from skateboarders, bicyclists, and other potential conflicts.

9. Encourage employers to try out age-spectrum redistribution.
The city could offer tax credits to companies willing to use a pilot program that redistributes work schedules, billable hours, and organizational management. They could be targeted to businesses in areas with high age range variance so model can be accurately specified. In allowing companies the flexibility and temporary capacity to shift weekly work schedules with age distributions, they may be able to enable senior labor force participation that may have otherwise not been available.

10. Expand emergency housing options for seniors struggling with stable housing. Cities can work with HUD and the Housing Authority of Los Angles to provide low-cost housing for seniors, including emergency housing in times of crises.

11. Expand senior subsidies for bus passes. In Los Angeles, a senior pass is $20. We could halve that and ask for voluntary donations and sponsorships from other pass buyers. (This could work for student passes, too!)

12. Offer phone and in-home mental health assistance as means to reach out to older residents.

13. Foster and train community-based police officers to look in and look out for seniors. Community-based policing in which officers live and work in the communities they serve can build ties of trust and respect.

14. Fix Los Angeles’ sidewalks: (Editor’s note: I can’t believe we have to say this out loud.) Broken or cracked sidewalks not only create injury risks for older Angelenos, but they create environmental barriers that make the elderly less inclined to leave the house and take a walk outside.

15. Bring back benches and public washrooms: In response to complaints of loitering, many bus stops, parks, and sidewalks of Los Angeles have gotten rid of benches and washrooms. But this makes our neighborhoods less inviting and welcoming.

16. Make Access Services easier to use. Currently, in order to use access-a-ride services, elderly and disabled people must schedule in-person appointments and go in to the city’s access eligibility center for an assessment. Let’s make it easier for people to access the services they need.

17. Fix and maintain elevators and ramps in transit stops and stations. Too often, elevators, escalators, and ramps in Metro stations are broken. These are potentially debilitating obstacles for elderly trying to make it to a doctor’s appointment or simply visit an old friend across town.

18. Foster auxiliary units and more options for in-place downsizing. Many seniors may want to downsize, but don’t want to necessarily leave their neighborhood or their city to do it. Cities can build more senior-accessible housing to give elderly more options.

19. Make it easier to age-in-place with volunteer carpenters and handy work Many seniors want to age in place, but need to have renovations done to their house or apartment in order to do so. But home improvement loans have high rejection rates. Cities and nonprofits can help make it easier for seniors to get credit to renovate their homes, or they can work with homeowners and volunteers to to get quality accommodations done on existing homes.

20. Invest in financial literacy: Options like home equity conversion mortgages present the elderly with options to supplement their retirement income, but these options are potentially costly and confusing. Cities can foster resources that can help advise elderly Angelenos on their options.

21. Support homecare workers: The people that often spend the most time with the elderly, homecare workers, are not eligible for overtime pay. City services and employment practices should explore ways to make home care work more financially stable and secure for those who provide it.

22. Turn Libraries into Community Centers -Libraries can expand senior-specific programming, offering computer classes, book clubs, and movie nights to provide additional opportunities for senior citizens to engage with their community.

23. Supplement urban seniors with housing stipends. Housing affordability is a chronic problem, and helping seniors stay in place with housing stipends to help them remain in the city as rents rise increases urban diversity and housing stability.

24. Ensure Accessibility at Transit Stations – To ensure senior citizens can take advantage of the public transit options available to them, the stations have to be accessible with ramps and elevators, adequate lighting, and comfortable benches to sit while waiting for a bus or train.

25. Make Crosswalks Safer - Streets designed to move car traffic quickly are dangerous to older pedestrians. Raised crosswalks, added medians, and longer crosswalk times will help to ensure senior citizens have a chance to cross successfully before cars enter the crosswalk.

26. Create Parklets – Public spaces offer a place for seniors to spend their leisure time and interact with their community. The city’s parklet program should be expanded, with designs that appeal to seniors to encourage their use.

27. Train city service workers to be sensitive and aware of the needs of senior residents. Senior Awareness Education: City personnel, as well as any citizen that shows interest, will be given special training on how to care for the needs of the elderly. Classes will vary from how to determine the needs and how to respond. Regular CPR classes and first aid classes will allow for better-trained staff and citizens. This will create more responsible workers and prevent any situations of elder abuse.

28. Senior town hall meetings to focus on the needs of seniors. Regular meetings will be held at the City Hall to allow for interaction of the community with the local agencies. Suggestions will be taken for consideration and responses will be shared at subsequent gatherings. Those unable to be present can participate via the free internet access.

29. Encourage independent living housing construction through facilitating infill and adaptive re-use. These housing projects could take existing apartment buildings and refurbish them to make them ADA compliant as well as modern so that they have the appearance of a regular apartment. Supportive services, like health care, should be located in these complexes so that seniors can get any medical care they need at their doorstep (Lewis, R.K., 2014). Changing zoning laws will allow for mixed use buildings with both living and business space (Lewis, R.K., 2014).

30. Innovate pension solutions, such as pooled pension plans. The City of New York has proposed a pooled pension plan for people reaching retirement age who have no safety net which Los Angeles could adopt as well (Taylor, K., 2014). Individuals employed in private companies would choose to enter the fund, and workers would contribute a portion of their pay (Taylor, K., 2014). The City of Los Angeles could manage the funds (Taylor, K., 2014). To take this further, the city could create a public pension plan in which all people pay into and receive benefits as residents of the city, to ensure that all people are able to stay out of poverty, regardless of previous employment (Herd, P., 2009).

31. Free internet access. The City of Los Angeles needs to implement free wifi for the city as well as make sure that all seniors have access to a computer or tablet/e-reader, either a personal computer or a designated computer room at senior housing, senior centers, and libraries. The Pew study “Older Adults and Technology Use” demonstrates that seniors who have access to the internet view it positively, and feel that it is beneficial to have access to all of the available information on the internet (Smith, A., 2014). Further, seniors who are online tend to have more active social lives, which can help with isolation (Smith, A., 2014). The Brookings Institute summarized the findings of a report by the Advanced Communications Law and Policy Institute which found that the main motivation that seniors use the internet is to communicate more easily with family and friends (Schaub, H., 2014)

32. Boost local community colleges to provide job training to empower older employees to stay relevant in their fields. In a competitive labor market, seniors are potentially at a disadvantages.

33. Improve coordination and mobility between health and social services facilities in the metro area with shuttles between service providers and medical locations.

34. Foster “digital inclusion” to create more user-friendly methods to engage with online city servicesAs more city services are digitized and provided through the internet and mobile technology, all programs should be created as user-friendly as possible. This includes readable font sizes, and the ability to speak with individuals if any questions arise.

35. Coordinate and promote funding opportunities for senior advocates. Funding opportunities for senior programs fly under the radar. More transparency for available funding opportunities for public and private organizations can help organizations get access to the funding. The city can partner with organizations to connect older adults on eligibility for benefits like SNAP, SSI, and Medicare.

36. Encourage wellness through trails and parks of multiple exercise levels: Seniors deserve opportunities to stay physically fit through low-impact and high-impact activities. Regular exercise is an effective preventative health measure and improves overall happiness.

37. Foster Abundant Health Care Services for Seniors and for Economic Development: Aging populations need more frequent medical care than other demographics; the health services market is growing more than just about any other economic sector. Cities can work to attract health care services and locate them conveniently, as well as fostering local clinics that offer a range of preventive and emergency services. The city can also encourage home care services such as house-calls and in home nurses that allow seniors to stay living independently in their homes for longer periods of time (Help the Aged, 2007).

38. Senior-Friendly Tax Policies. Economic security is key to protecting quality of life for the aging population. Changes in tax levels can be a particular concern for seniors, and especially local option sales taxes and property taxes. The city can and should investigate the possibility of senior exemptions or two-tiers on sales taxes for seniors.

39. A peer ambassador program among friends and neighbors to promote healthy behaviors, lower diabetes rates, and ward off social isolation. A bellwether for the demographic destiny of the country, Los Angeles has significant diversity among its senior citizens and widespread health disparities. Chief among those are elevated rates of diabetes, which disproportionately affect Hispanic and African-American seniors. A peer ambassadorship pilot program in the Bay Area has been shown to decrease diabetes in these populations, increase healthy behaviors, and decrease social isolation.

40. Innovate better street lighting and lighting design. Falls and crime are a major concern for all citizens, but they are an especially grave concern for frail seniors. Cities can increase and better design lighting on major and secondary streets as well as in and around parks and other public facilities to help seniors with night vision difficulties better navigate sidewalks and walkways.

41. Improve bus stop design. One step in promoting transit use among seniors is to improve the conditions of bus stops and shelters. All bus stops should provide protection from sun, wind, and rain. All shelters will be positioned so that they are wheelchair accessible from all approaches. Shelters should have bus routes and schedules posted on signage with sizeable font and brail so that it is readable by riders of all abilities.

42. “Seniors lead” programming. In addition to have good community spaces, it’s a good idea to have seniors lead in developing programs that emphasis inter-generational connections both within and between families.

43. Nutritional programs and food security. Nutritional needs change throughout life. The Department of Public Health can work our local hospital and other healthcare providers to design and implement free health and nutritional learning and planning for seniors. Time swap volunteer programs might allow seniors to swap some time volunteering for vouchers at farmer’s markets and groceries.

44. City-sponsored free health screenings and celebration events. The local hospital, pharmacies, and community center can provide routine health screenings, free of charge to seniors (sponsored by the city and health donors) as part of public events like CiClivia or before concerts and sports events.

45. Home accommodation and emergency micro-loan programs. The fund shall also be used to provide financial assistance to senior homeowners who may be at risk of losing their homes. Ensuring that seniors can endure financial hardships and remain in their homes will foster their continued independence and potentially prolong the need for greater government-funded assistance.

46. Tax incentives for co-housing. Tax incentives can be provided to all housing developers who design or reconfigure properties to accommodate a multi-generational tenant base. This may include variation in unit sizes as well as the implementation social programs that not only target a variety of age groups but aim to connect the tenants across generations.

47. Support lifelong caregivers who have been uncompensated. Women and men who can substantiate long-term care to others, which has resulted in a loss of wages, social security and reduced pensions should be granted supplementary retirement income in the form of local service vouchers that ‘pay back’ service.

48. Build on the Great Streets idea to create “Gray Streets” as well. Most municipal leaders already know that multimodal transportation and great streets help cities thrive, but additional work done can be done to ensure that the built environment includes relatively small accommodations so that streets also meet the needs of seniors. Dangerous traffic conditions, uneven or dilapidated sidewalks, the lack of crosswalks, too-short crossing times, inadequate signage, and other issues can make walkability difficult or dangerous for elderly pedestrians.

49. Establish senior-friendly shopping districts. These districts designed to address the needs of older residents. Based on existing models in Bloomington, Indiana, and East Harlem, New York City, the areas will work with businesses and service providers to ensure that senior-friendly amenities are provided (fold-down chairs and benches at bus stops; age-friendly infrastructure in stores such as railing and easy-access doors; increased provision of public toilets; and special discounts for seniors in participating businesses). Other services for seniors, such as community health resources and targeted outreach programs, will be available in Aging Community Districts.

50. Appoint an “Aging Czar” to coordinate and advocate for services for senior citizens. The creation of a new position to address these needs signals the administration’s desire to better coordinate aging-related services, provide a system of accountability, and ensure that programs continue to meet the needs of diverse urban communities.

51. Use school buses not in use during school hours for the transportation needs of senior citizens. Most school buses remain under-use between 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. (normal school hours), a new program will create benefits at a minimal cost. The program is based on similar programs in New York and North Carolina that takes seniors to major shopping destinations.

52. Offer ride vouchers for senior citizens through ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft. As part of city negotiations with Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar about integrating their services into the regulatory fabric of the city, the ride-sharing companies can set aside free or heavily discounted ride vouchers for qualifying low-income city residents to travel to medical or shopping-related trips. Lack of opportunities for transportation often leads to isolation and economic hardship for many seniors and represent a barrier to aging-in-place strategies. Taxis can be effective ways to meet the travel needs of seniors, though there are sometimes barriers in terms of availability, drivers’ attitudes, and accessibility.

53. Neighborhood-based senior citizen action teams can pinpoint critical aging needs and participate in local advocacy process. With its diverse population, Los Angeles presents a challenge in terms of meeting the different needs from its many communities.

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