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New Cities and Boomer Futures

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

In conjunction with courses in architecture and civic leadership, this studio-based colloquium, led by Professors Dennis Domer and Cheryl Lester, brings together experts from the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, law, architecture, environmental studies, and planning, to present and lead discussions on interdisciplinary research theory and methods within the context of a large project to build 20 "new cities" in the United States during the next two decades. Over 80 million baby boomers will begin "retiring" in 2012, a demographic of immense implications to American life and to the children and grandchildren of the boomer generation. Yet there is little or no infrastructure for this vast wave of retirements. Inside an architectural design studio, this colloquium will function as a think tank to develop new ideas and models for these cities that architects and planners can translate into the physical structures of community, residential life, and institutional buildings that express a new way of living. The goals of the colloquium are: 1) to engage with a wide range of faculty and students in an interdisciplinary inquiry about how to form and on what basis to form new communities that are multigenerational, diverse, sustainable, and socially just; 2) to learn how to think and work as a team in an interdisciplinary way; 3) to develop in-depth investigations of various parts of the Model of Place for Aging Well; 4) to understand the methods and theories of faculty and students who represent departments and perspectives other than one's own; and 5) to understand the various aspects of civic leadership and leadership theory.

In partnership with the "New Cities" colloquium, the speaker series "Boomer Futures: Aging Well in the 21st Century" will bring five distinguished specialists to examine the future of aging. The project grew in partnership with the Commons Development Company (CDC), which challenged faculty members at the University of Kansas to organize an intellectual community that would re-think the environment in which aging occurs.

"The CDC is working with the University of Kansas to develop the knowledge to build twenty successful "new cities" that respond to the special needs of Baby Boomers and their extended families," said Dennis Domer, Director of Graduate Studies and Acting Director of Museum Studies. "We call our initiative NCLLCI or New Cities Life Long Communities Initiative. We set up a think tank in the fall semester to investigate how these communities should be designed based on what we learn about aging and the desires of the Baby Boomer population, their children, and grandchildren."

The speakers in this series include: Harry R. Moody, Peter Uhlenberg, Bruce A. Carnes, Stephan Golant and Laura L. Carstensen. This series is free and open to the public and will be held at Carnegie Library at Ninth and Vermont Streets at 6:30pm on Thursdays on the following dates: February 3, February 24, March 31, April 14 and April 28.

Click here for a flyer containing all of the dates, speakers, and details.

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