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Kitchen Table Talk: Outdoor Spaces & Buildings

People need public places to gather—indoors and out. Age Friendly Seattle supports parks and other green spaces, safe streets, sidewalks, outdoor seating, and accessible buildings that can be used and enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities. That’s the vision for the Outdoor Spaces & Buildings domain of the Age Friendly Seattle Action Plan for 2018–2021.

Age Friendly Seattle believes that outdoor spaces and buildings should be welcoming and inclusive. What does that mean to you? When we hold our August 21 Kitchen Table Talk, that is one of the questions we would like participants to answer.

Public open space, parks, playgrounds, and gardens are associated with reduced stress, reduced depression, and better general health. Are our parks as welcoming as they could be? Do you have enough opportunities for outdoor fitness, in parks or elsewhere? We would like to hear what improvements you would like to see in our parks, plazas, and other places people get together.

What about green spaces on private property? Do you or your neighbors grow vegetables? Have you considered using your parking strip? Do you participate in community gardening programs like Seattle’s P-Patch Program? Did you know that the City of Seattle makes free street trees available for residents? We will share information about free trees during the Kitchen Table Talk.

If you know of outdoor spaces where people gather in your neighborhood, what attracts them? Alternatively, if you cannot identify an outdoor gathering place within a mile of your home, we’d like to know.

Are buildings that you visit—whether public or privately owned—accessible to you? Why or why not? Sometimes accessibility isn’t about the doorway threshold. Sometimes it has to do with directions, acoustics, and amenities, like having a place to sit for a moment. Sometimes it has to do with the way space is used over time—for instance, how many people are present and programming that may or may not appeal to you.

Some of our current age-friendly work in this area includes advocacy through the Northwest Universal Design Council (NWUDC), a volunteer organization staffed by Age Friendly Seattle. The NWUDC promotes visitability through design principles that can be applied to buildings, plazas, parks, and landscapes—equitable use, flexibility in use, simple and intuitive use, perceptible information, tolerance for error, low physical effort, and size and space for approach and use.

Join the Kitchen Table Talk from your home or office
Participate in the August 21 discussion about outdoor spaces and buildings. Anybody can participate; no prior experience required. You can call in or log on from the comfort of your kitchen table, sofa, or desk! Details are available to download here and as follows:

  • At the time of the event or a few minutes earlier, visit https://bit.ly/2NutHpU.
  • Alternatively, you can join by phone: 206-386-1200 or (toll-free) 844-386-1200.
  • When prompted, enter Conference ID: 988583.

Here is a tentative list of discussion questions:

  1. What does a welcoming and inclusive outdoor space mean to you?
  2. What improvements would you like to see in our city’s parks and plazas?
  3. Thinking about green spaces, have you had experience with community gardens or street tree programs? If so, was the experience valuable?
  4. Do you or your neighbors plant vegetables on your parking strip or landscape that area with shrubs or flowers? What’s that like?
  5. Do you have enough opportunities for outdoor fitness? If not, what change might make that easier for you?
  6. What could the City do to make buildings more welcoming, inclusive, and accessible for you?

For more information about Age Friendly Seattle, e-mail agefriendly@seattle.gov, visit www.seattle.gov/agefriendly, “like” Age Friendly Seattle on Facebook and/or “follow” Age Friendly Seattle on Twitter.


Age-Friendly Discussion Groups

Age Friendly Seattle’s Kitchen Table Talks is part of an Age-Friendly Discussion Groups project. Partners include Northwest Prime Time, AARP Washington, King County Library System, and Aging and Disability Services and Age Friendly Seattle. Groups are encouraged to form everywhere—at home, at work, coffee shops, at senior centers, on a walk—anywhere that people interested in age-friendly communities get together. The series started in May and runs through December.

If you hold a discussion group:

  • Snap a photo of your group and post it or any comments/questions on AARP Washington’s Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/AARPWA/groups; or
  • E-mail your comments and questions to editor@northwestprimetime.com; or
  • Call Northwest Prime Time at 206-824-8600; or
  • Send a note: Northwest Prime Time, PO Box 13647, Seattle WA 98198.

Each group that contacts Northwest Prime Time by e-mail, phone, or snail mail will be entered to win a $100 Starbucks gift card. Use it for coffee and treats at your next discussion group meeting! Your group will also be entered to win a grand prize (to be announced at the end of the year). There is no cost to participate; limit one entry per month per group.

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