Most of us don’t like to think about aging. Speaking broadly for my Generation X, Millennials, and those coming up behind us, we are aware that the systems put into place to support the Baby Boomers are crumbling. We don’t expect things like Social Security and pensions to be there for us.
Economically, we are far worse off than our parents’ generation, less likely to own property and more saddled with debts. The figures required just to enter supported living facilities in Seattle—ranging roughly from $40,000 to $400,000—seem wildly out of reach, even for tech workers.
At the same time, we can expect to live longer than any generation before us. What lies ahead for us? If we pause and think about it, we may have a chance to influence our own future and benefit the wave of people currently growing old in our city.
There is a growing body of research from organizations across the globe that shows how the design of a city—its built environment as well as the policies and practices that govern what takes place in it—affects our minds and bodies as we age. By making conscious choices now, we can ensure that Seattle is a place that offers a vibrant life to people of all ages, now and many years into the future.
That pause is what we are creating with A City for All, a hackathon presented by the City of Seattle as part of the Age-Friendly Seattle initiative that will take place over the weekend of September 22–24. The event will offer a rich environment in which to think creatively about the challenges of aging and explore ways we can use technology to improve them.
In addition to releasing new open datasets that reveal how the City allocates its funding for aging and disability services, we are recruiting expert mentors from across the City and the community who can help teams validate and develop their ideas.
We will be hacking at City Hall, kicking off the event in the Bertha Knight Landes Room at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, September 22 with a series of quick talks from experts in urban planning, aging, and what makes communities work. Teams will have the whole weekend to work on their projects, presenting them on Sunday, September 24, at 2:00 p.m.
We invite software developers, data scientists, designers, urban planners, and anyone with a creative idea they’d like to develop over the weekend. The Friday kickoff talks and Sunday presentations are also open to members of the public who are interested in learning more about this issue and seeing what teams build.
People and organizations interested in sponsoring, mentoring, or otherwise getting involved are encouraged to e-mail me. Participants can learn more and register at A City For All.
Contributor Candace Faber is the civic technology advocate for the City of Seattle and the project manager for City for All. Her e-mail address is Candace.Faber@seattle.gov.
Photo credit: Linnea Westerlind from Year of Seattle Parks—yearofseattleparks.com