Bob Scarfo, an associate professor of landscape architecture at Washington State University's Spokane campus, served as a contributing editor on a newly released book that explores the correlations between aging populations and the "built environments" where they live.
Landscape architect Jack Carman and gerontologists Nancy Carman and Pauline Abbott, all of whom live and work elsewhere, also are contributing editors of the book, titled, "Re-Creating Neighborhoods for Successful Aging." Various other authors contributed to the content.
The book addresses issues such as elder-friendly design principles, the causal relationship between health and the environment, naturally occurring retirement communities where large numbers of retirees live, and the challenges to the aged posed by living in America's automobile-dependent suburbs. The book also includes articles detailing historical approaches to elder care.
One of the articles, authored by Scarfo and fellow WSU Spokane professor Kerry Brooks, details the possibilities of using geographic information systems as a tool in planning accessible and livable areas for the elderly. The use of such systems can help in analyzing how close sidewalks, bus routes, retail stores, and other amenities are to certain locations where older people might live.
While the book should appeal to academics, urban planners, and public health officials, Scarfo says there's "really something for everyone," adding that the editors always intended for the book to be a practical reference guide for anyone interested in elderly issues.
Scarfo says he and his colleagues were approached by the book's publisher, Health Professions Press, in 2005 after a representative of the publishing house had seen a panel discussion featuring the book's editors. The book is priced at $38.95, according to the publisher's Web site.
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