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Pittsburgh, PA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Public art installations

Description: To bring vibrancy to Pittsburgh's Beechview neighborhood, the Southwestern Pennsylvania Partnership for Aging engaged residents in a public art project. The result was Color Beechview. With the guidance of a local artist, community members wore LED lights on bodies, which they used to create light paintings through long-exposure technology. The resulting digital art depicts the silhouettes of Beechview residents, including children and older adults. SWPPA then displayed the art throughout the neighborhood, including on the sidewalk pavement in front of the senior center, on the side of light rail cars and along neighborhood fences. Organizers say key goals of the project were combatting social isolation and creating intergenerational connections. We encouraged people who didn't know one another to reach across generations and across ethnicities to connect, Lively Pittsburgh's Ted Cmarada said.

Iowa City, IA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2023

Project Category: Housing Choice Design Competitions

Description: The project will stage a competition for children age 17 and younger, who will design Lego replicas of accessory dwelling units to promote the housing type as an affordable option for older adults.

Philadelphia, PA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Engaging residents in vibrant public places

Description: Among the goals of the Go, Go, Go: Making Our Community More Livable project was to enable Chinatown's residents to build friendships -- Go outdoors. Go be creative. Go make friends -- in a linguistically and culturally accessible way. One out of five Chinatown residents is an older adult and nearly 90 percent of those individuals have limited English proficiency. To help foster social connections, the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation offered free art classes, with local artists serving as instructors. The organization then created a pop-up Chinatown art gallery featuring work created in the classes. In addition, PCDC founded a community garden club. More than 150 people ranging in age from 3 to 87 participated in the activities. The PCDC hopes to continue offering free community at its Crane Community Center, which broke ground in 2017 -- the first space of its kind in Chinatown.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Lexington, KY

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Park enhancements

Description: To give residents a comfortable space to hold a conversation, the Lexington Senior Center installed new accessible benches and raised planters in Idle Hour Park. Guided by a physical therapy student's research, which showed many people are uncomfortable twisting to converse with someone seated beside them, the benches sit in a U shape. This placement allows people to choose whether to sit next to or across from one another. Each seating area also includes extra space for a wheelchair user to join in.

Lexington, KY

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: Organizers with Seedleaf hoped to provide a more comfortable experience for the many older adults who maintain one of its free community gardens. To do this, Seedleaf provided ergonomic garden tools -- including shovels and trowels -- designed for people with arthritis to use. They also purchased portable, raised seats that gardeners can place alongside garden beds, as well as a foldable wagon to collect harvested vegetables and a shed to house the new tools. To provide a space for visitors to rest and socialize, the nonprofit worked with a local carpenter to build two sturdy, cedar benches.

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