Calendar of Events

Tue 05.31.2016

Connecting Research and Age-Friendly Design

AIA CES: 1.5 LU | 1.5 HSW

When: 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM TUESDAY, MAY 31

Where: At The Center   

Research is happening at multiple scales and in different arenas on the topic of designing for the aging population, from promoting individual health and well-being to understanding what constitutes a supportive community for seniors. This panel will explore how academic and independent research produces knowledge that can be utilized by designers to create age-friendly environments.

Bill Armbruster, Associate State Director, AARP
Jeff Rosenfeld, Environmental Gerontologist, Parsons School of Design
Mildred Warner, Professor of City and Regional Planning, Cornell University

Moderator: Lorraine G. Hiatt, Environmental Gerontologist

Bill Armbruster has been with AARP since 2000, joining as an Associate State Director for AARP New York. In that role, Armbruster served the upstate and western region of the Empire State and was responsible for the development, implementation, and assessment for community outreach programming. That body of work included livable and age-friendly communities initiatives, partner development, and grassroots organizing. In his current role, he coordinates the AARP Network of Age Friendly Communities (which currently has over 90 communities enrolled, impacting over 44 million lives) and serves as national advisor for states and communities that want to become more livable for all ages. In addition to his work at AARP, Armbruster has extensive experience in corporate wellness programs, occupational rehabilitation, and ergonomics. He brings his ergonomics expertise, which by its simplest definition is a science that deals with designing and arranging objects so that people can use them easily and safely at work, and translates these principles into the creation of Livable Communities.

Jeff Rosenfeld has been researching the causes of serious geriatric falls for the past five months, with the goal of creating more effective Fall-Prevention programs. Thanks to a grant from Parsons School of Design, he has been gathering data on the incidence and prevalence of geriatric fall from 2013 to 2015, as reported in in ERs at hospitals including New York Methodist Hospital in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Rosenfeld is especially interested in ways that décor contributes to the incidence and prevalence of geriatric falls in the home. At the moment, Rosenfeld is exploring rates of geriatric falls for “Floor Cultures” (i.e., cultures where it is the norm to sit and sleep closer to the floor), as compared to those of “Chair & Bed Cultures” among elderly patients who seek medical attention following a serious fall at home.

The research on ethnically-themed differences in geriatric falls is informed by Rosenfeld's abiding interest in cross-cultural comparisons. Along with Wid Chapman, AIA, he is author of Home Design in an Aging World (Bloomsbury Press, 2009), which explores differences in senior housing design for six of the world’s most rapidly aging nations, and UnAssisted Living (Monacelli Press, 2012), also written with Wid Chapman, AIA.

Mildred Warner, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning at Cornell University where her work focuses primarily on local government service delivery, and economic and community development. Warner’s research explores the challenges for cities, suburbs, and rural communities in meeting the needs of both families with young children and an aging population. She helps city planners explore new models that link the care needs of children, parent, and elders with economic development, and she works with employers to incorporate care supports into their human resource policy. Her work on Planning Across Generations explores models to address the needs of both young children and seniors through shared service delivery, accessible design of built environments, and shared vision around common needs.

Warner has a PhD in Development Sociology, a Masters in Agricultural Economics from Cornell University, and a BA in History from Oberlin College. She is author of numerous refereed articles and book chapters and has received major research grants from the USDA to assess the prospects for multigenerational planning and shared service delivery and to explore environmental sustainability actions of local governments. She has also received grants from the US Department of Health and Human Services and the Peppercorn and Kellogg foundations to explore the links between economic development and child care. Copies of recent articles and research can be found at her website,

Lorraine G. Hiatt, PhD, is a NYC-based environmental psychologist/gerontologist and the sole proprietor of a woman-owned business since 1980. Hiatt collaborates with a variety of US design teams and sponsors, drawing on mature elders including implications for residences and community life: housing, aging in place, health and memory care, commercial, leisure and cultural settings. She has also worked on design for medically fragile and developmentally delayed children and on intergenerational living.

Hiatt has been traveling an average of 200+ days a year for forty years to facilitate participatory planning and has completed 800 elder-friendly projects: "new," "renovated" and "repositioned."

Organized by: AIANY Social Science and Architecture Committee and AIANY Design for Aging Committee

Price: Free for AIA members and Students with valid ID; $10 for non-members



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