An Interdisciplinary Approach to Aging and the Built Environment

Boomer Futures Think Tank

2011 Programs     2012 Programs     2013 Programs     2014 Programs

Aging is an obvious part of all our lives, but generally speaking we know little about it. Indeed, we often fear it and pretend it has nothing to do with us. Just as aging affects us all, aging influences all the academic disciplines and professions, many of which have been leading the way for years and others that are just beginning to take up the topic in teaching and research.

Part of the New Cities mission is to inform ourselves and a wide variety of publics about the multiple meanings and realities of aging in light of the fact that 10,000 baby boomers will reach the age of sixty-five every day from 2011 to 2030. Instead of taking a purely high-tech approach to this interdisciplinary task, we decided to sponsor Think Tanks that bring people to the campus of the University of Kansas in a kind of old-fashioned way, people who come together from on- and off-campus, from towns and cities from the region, and from our nation.

The first speakers were part of a colloquium, American Studies 808. We publicized the second group as Boomer Futures speakers. Finally the speaker series came to be called the Boomer Futures Think Tank. We videotaped many of the speakers. The videos are available for viewing on this New Cities website.

We are beginning our fourth year of the Boomer Futures Think Tanks. During the first three years we have invited people from across the country to talk about aging and architecture, law, psychology, nursing, computer engineering, transportation, sociology, demography, intergenerational living, medicine, sustainability, senior living, science fiction, philosophy, and design. We still have many topics and disciplines to consider.

Boomer Futures Think Tank

Wes Jackson Poster

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