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Zhang, Xue & Warner, Mildred E. (2021). "Age-Friendly Planning in Tompkins County: Bridging the Rural-Urban Divide - A Report to the Tompkins County Age-Friendly Center for Excellence", Dept of City and Reg, Planning, Cornell University.

Most planning research focuses on the nature of the built environment (e.g. walkability, mixed-use) and how this can enhance physical activity and individual health. But these built environment recommendations are less applicable in rural communities.In this case study, we draw lessons from a healthy rural/urban county in New York State. In this collaborative, community-based research, we conducted a survey of all 16 municipalities in the county, reviewed all municipal plans and conducted interviews with 30 community stakeholders across a range of agencies.

We find nodal development, as an age-friendly development strategy, leaves much of the community unserved. Cross-agency collaboration brings built environment, planning, service delivery, and social engagement together to promote attention to health across rural and urban communities. We find giving attention to service provision and civic engagement is as important as the built environment in building a healthy place, especially in rural communities.

Planners need to move beyond a primary focus on the physical built environment, and give comprehensive attention to service provision and civic participation to build a healthy community. Strategies include: encouraging different community stakeholders to participate in the planning process, improving delivery services for the rural community, and promoting cross-agency collaboration.

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Subject: Age-Friendly