Mapping the Landscape of Aging

Introduction

The Role of the PLAC 513 Class

The recently completed, 2020 Community Plan on Aging for the TJPDC, is designed to improve healthcare accessibility, housing affordability, and quality of life for the aging population and their caregivers. Now many of the goals, strategies and objectives need to be measured, mapped or inventoried to determine how to monitor progress. Thus, the goal of the PLAC 513 class project is to create maps and inventories of the existing conditions of the aging population, land uses, transportation issues, and current JABA services to guide future JABA activities. As a course, we focused on applying Geographic Information Systems. The focus during the semester has been on readily available digital data that would be spatially mapped.

Type of Product

The PLAC 513 Class created a series of maps relating to the 2020 Community Plan on Aging. Many of these maps were created from census data at the census tract level and the block group level and include the elderly population by age, living arrangements, presence of any disability, and poverty/disability. These maps demonstrate where seniors are living and what types of services they may need, approximate current JABA service levels and determine where more services are needed. Other maps were created showing the location of particular facilities (such as senior centers, health related clinics, pharmacies, and churches). Transportation maps showing roadway, bus services, and stops and Demand Responses System (JAUNT) were prepared. The distribution of current (2005) JABA Clients were mapped for different services JABA offers.

Analytic mapping was prepared to illustrate the accessibility of various populations to activities. Transportation maps were also created in relation to the facilities to demonstrate the degree to which elderly citizens are able to move between their homes and the facilities (such as hospitals, doctors’ offices, social services, and senior centers) throughout the region. A close examination of the current land use and patterns of use with consistent classifications for Albemarle and Charlottesville, provides an opportunity to envision the landscape in the future, and allows one to design a landscape conducive to aging in place.

Themes of the 2020 Community Plan on Aging

The Jefferson Area Board of Aging (JABA) developed a community plan on aging for the Fluvanna, Louisa, Nelson, Greene, Albemarle, and Charlottesville area. JABA identified many elements of an age-friendly community in the 2020 Community Plan. The first element of the plan that we were able to map spatially to some degree encourages a variety of affordable and accessible housing located close to retail and service areas. The second promotes accessible, affordable, and dependable transportation options to reduce dependence on single occupancy car travel. Pedestrian-friendly, health-promoting and accessible community design makes up another element of this plan. In addition, another element is affordable and accessibly city or county services and amenities (such as museums, libraries, and parks). A fifth component of the plan promotes affordable, coordinated health and support services that are available in local settings. The last three themes found in the 2020 plan are also important elements of an age-friendly community, but were not mapped by the PLAC 513 class as they lacked a spatial aspect. These elements are: senior and caregiver-friendly employment practices; social, cultural, educational and recreational opportunities to engage people of all ages; senior-friendly practices by businesses, organizations, and churches. Full 2020 Plan in pdf form or JABA's summary of the plan.

The site has been updated January 2009 to correct some errors in road networks used in regional analysis and to standardize some of the symbolism in the activities and accessibility portion of the site.

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