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Charlotte, NC

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Improved wayfinding

Description: Sustain Charlotte hoped to build enthusiasm for the concept of ten-minute neighborhoods -- places where people can meet their daily needs without needing to own a car. Based on input from residents of Charlotte's North End, the organization designed and installed 86 wayfinding signs. Each displays a QR code, which visitors can scan with their smartphones to view a map of neighborhood amenities, including parks and recreation centers, schools and public transportation. Following this project, Sustain Charlotte has continued its relationship with North End residents. The North End Community Coalition now serves on the steering committee for the Charlotte Regional Transportation Coalition, which Sustain Charlotte started in 2020. That coalition advocates for equity-centered transportation improvements, which include pedestrian and bike infrastructure. Since then, the City has increased its budget for transportation projects to make biking and walking safer.

Houston, TX

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Improved wayfinding

Description: Organizers with the Greater Northside Management District wanted to help pedestrians reach local businesses and other neighborhood amenities. They also hoped to increase public safety, support public art and create a sense of neighborhood identity. To do this, the District installed signs in five neighborhoods. The large-scale signs can display multiple pieces of information at once, including directions and distances to businesses, public safety statistics, the location of neighborhood amenities and how to catch a bus or check out a bike from the local bike share. Additionally, they can showcase artworks, with local schools encouraged to submit student work for exhibit. The signposts also have a placemaking element -- each displays the name of the neighborhood in large, metal letters. By creating a sense of place and helping visitors navigate, project organizers say the wayfinding effort will support economic development on Houston's Northside.

Kokomo, IN

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Improved wayfinding

Description: To encourage residents to be more physically active, the YMCA in Kokomo raised their awareness of county trails, parks and other recreational amenities. The YMCA created signs for the city's trolley stops and for its Walk of Excellence Trail. The signs communicate the distance, direction and walking time to local attractions, including parks, the Kokomo Municipal Stadium and the Kokomo Beach Family Aquatic Center. They also provide information about accessibility for people with disabilities. The project gave the YMCA an opportunity to partner with local stakeholders, such as the city's parks and recreation department and the Indiana University Design Center. Since this effort, the city of Kokomo has continued to promote biking. In 2018, the city launched a free bikesharing program that provides adults and children with bikes, as well as helmets and locks.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Salt Lake City, UT

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Bringing resident insight and volunteer power into local government

Description: This project established a transportation committee within the Glendale Neighborhood Council to plot a course on issues related to transportation in Glendale and more.

Salt Lake City, UT

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Engaging people in transportation options/safety

Description: The Transit Together initiative invited residents at two low-income, older adult communities to use public transit to get to the grocery store. Over the course of three weeks, project organizers assisted groups of older adults -- including those with mobility issues -- as they navigated the Trax light rail system's routes and fare collection system. To help them run errands via transit, the County Aging and Adult Services office offered each participant a grocery caddy and a monthly senior transit pass. At the end of the program, 22 out of 32 participants reported they would use public transit in the future. In addition, several volunteer-resident pairs planned to continue making grocery trips together. Project organizers report that other service providers throughout Utah have since reached out to find out how they can implement similar educational programs in their communities.

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