See More Projects Like This One

Milton-Freewater, OR

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: This project temporarily transformed an underused parking lot into a town plaza, dubbed Freewater Square. First, the Milton-Freewater Downtown Alliance made repairs to the pavement and added electric and water access at the site. They then purchased outdoor furniture, shade umbrellas and games. Volunteers also built planters and installed a stage for performances. To beautify the plaza, project organizers also held a mural painting competition. After the transformation, the plaza hosted monthly events, including live music, movie nights, community art projects and game tournaments -- all of which gave residents a safe way to socialize during the COVID-19 pandemic. Small buildings host pop-ups, allowing the site the act as a small business incubator. Eventually, MFDA plans to revert the site to a parking lot. But project organizers say they will use ideas from the plaza activation to permanently convert a nearby vacant lot into a community market and activity center.

Rapid City, SD

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: To increase awareness of the local book club and other community activities, NeighborWorks designed and installed 30 flags in the North Rapid neighborhood. A local artists created designs for the flags and residents worked together to approve wording for each one. Volunteers then installed flags on utility poles throughout the neighborhood. Project organizers say that since the flags appeared, local groups have received inquiries about how to become more involved in local activities.

Chicago, IL

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: Public plazas are not always grand sometimes they can make a big impact in a tiny space. The Rogers Park Business Alliance and other project organizers purchased a pop-up People Spot from the nearby Chicago neighborhood of Andersonville. The Alliance then deployed the People Spot on Clark Street, with the aim of amping up pedestrian engagement along Rogers Parks' commercial corridor. Also known as a parklet, the mini plaza extends from the sidewalk in what would otherwise be a parking space. Featuring new wood benches and greenery, the parklet offers visitors a pleasant spot to rest or eat lunch. In the future, the Alliance will move the pop-up plaza to different locations throughout the Rogers Park neighborhood.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Camden, NJ

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Roadway/sidewalks/crosswalk improvement

Description: To help people reach Cramer Waterfront Park on foot or by bicycle, this demonstration project tested several street safety improvements. Organizers added crosswalks and temporary curb ramps to a nearby intersection. They also swapped bike and parking lanes in an effort to separate cyclists from vehicle traffic. The Camden Community Partnership collected data to evaluate the traffic calming interventions, which they will use to inform permanent infrastructure upgrades.

Philadelphia, PA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Public spaces improvements to increase high-speed internet availability

Description: To help older adults access the internet, the Center in the Park created a cafe onsite, which offers free Wi-Fi access to visitors.

LEARN MORE AND STAY INFORMED

Find articles and resources about making communities more livable for people of all ages

people icon

Download or order free publications from AARP Livable Communities

download icon

Sign up for the free, weekly, award-winning AARP Livable Communities eNewsletter

mail icon

Don't see your community listed?

LEARN HOW IT CAN JOIN THE NETWORK

Connect with your AARP State Office

AARP has offices in all 50 states as well as in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

AARP New Jersey State Office

303 George Street
Suite 505
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
United States

Phone: 866-542-8165
Fax: 609-987-4634
Email: [email protected]