Sioux Falls is the newest member of the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities – the first South Dakota community to earn the honor.
As a member, Sioux Falls gains access to global resources and information on age-friendly best practices, models of assessment and implementation, and the experiences of towns and cities around the world.
The Age-Friendly Network was launched in 2012 and operates under the auspices of the World Health Organization's Age-Friendly Cities and Communities Program. Its purpose is to help participating communities become great places for people of all ages by adopting features such as safe, walkable streets; better housing and transportation options; access to key services; and opportunities for residents to participate in civic and community activities.
“Well-designed, livable communities promote well-being, sustain economic growth, and make for happier, healthier residents of all ages,” said AARP South Dakota State Director Erik Gaikowski. “By becoming part of the network, Sioux Falls is making a commitment to do even more to improve livability in the city and involve older residents in the process.”
“We couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity,” said Mayor TenHaken. “AARP’s eight domains of livability align perfectly with my administration’s focus on issues such as accessible housing, transportation, workforce, public health and safety as well as engaging residents of all ages in projects that enhance the vitality and diversity of our community.”
Participating communities in the Age-Friendly Network commit to improving their livability through an assessment of needs, development of an action plan, implementation of new projects and programs, and ongoing assessment. The livability indicators are planned, implemented and progress assessed in three phases over a five-year period, with continued cycles of assessment and improvement thereafter.