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Washington, DC

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public or private transit access

Description: While Washington, D.C. has a robust public transit system, rider amenities are not consistent throughout the city and the Pennsylvania Avenue East Corridor is particularly underserved. The city's Office of Planning hoped to use creative placemaking techniques to make waiting for the bus safer and more comfortable. Project organizers worked with local artists to design and build an Imagination Bench, which they placed on a well-used bus route. The bench has solar-powered illumination and a QR code on its side directs viewers to information about the bench and local planning efforts. Originally installed near Fort Dupont Park, planning staff intend to feature the brightly colored bench at the city's farmers markets, pop-up shops and other community events.

Santa Cruz, CA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Accessory dwelling units, tiny homes and manufactured housing

Description: An increasing number of older adults are at risk of losing their homes. Common reasons include rising housing costs or homes that are unsuitable for aging in place. According to David Foster, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Monterey Bay, 300 families in the high-cost Santa Cruz area are income-burdened. To address this, Habitat for Humanity's My House My Home program builds aging-friendly accessory dwelling units. This project involved building an ADU attachment onto an older couple's home. That allowed the couple to rent out the unit, providing them with rental income that allowed them to remain in their home of 50 years. Grant funding also supported accessibility to the main house, including a new walkway and ramp, as well as low-water landscaping. They have the option to move into the ADU - which also includes accessibility features - if they choose to downsize in the future.

San Diego, CA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: Part of Vision Zero work to reduce pedestrian fatalities, City Heights CDC worked to create a sense of space and improve safety at a dangerous intersection. The City Heights neighborhood is an enclave for refugees from Somalia and other East African countries. Residents -- particularly those 50 or older -- often gather in parking lots and on sidewalks at the busy area along University Avenue, which home to shops, markets and mosques. This placemaking project created a safe gathering space, separated from vehicle traffic. Working with residents' input, the CDC designed the space to reflect the neighborhood's culture. They installed seating, planter and tables with board game tops and painted a mural onsite. Organizers say the space helps combat social isolation and is a catalyst for investment in the neighborhood.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Binghamton, NY

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Public art installations

Description: To improve the walkability and aesthetics of an industrial neighborhood in Binghamton, the Center for Technology and Innovation installed a 300-square-foot topographical map mural. Displayed along Wall Street, the artwork depicts a stretch of New York State from Cooperstown to Lake Erie. Organizers say the map aims to enliven pedestrian-friendly block connecting Northside residential neighborhood to downtown shopping areas and a regional transportation hub. The three-dimensional map, prepared with the help of the U.S. Geological Survey, is titled Here in the Heart of New York.

Syracuse, NY

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2023

Project Category: Developing projects based on residents' priorities

Description: This project will install projectors and screens to expand the type and variety of programming, events and activities that can be provided to residents at six public housing buildings for older adults and people with disabilities.

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