Generations United and The Generations Initiative released their report titled, “Out of Many, One,” where they challenge traditional approaches to formulating policy. Due to changing demographics and a large, ageing population, categorical approaches to policy are outdated. Individuals, families, and communities are diverse, dynamic, and interconnected.
They offer four new ways to think of policy in order to support and address our changing demographics. It’s an intergenerational approach that embraces all demographics–accepting the truth that we no longer look like, and will no long look like, what we did in the past.
These four remarkable lenses offer approaches to eradicate differences in opportunity based on race, class, and age, and how they equalize opportunity for jobs and education.
1.) Change how we think about work:
What does “retirement age” mean now that the average American lives to be 78? What would happen to student debt and young adult employment if it were possible to “learn and earn” on a flexible work schedule? What if you could share your job with someone else? How can we change the ways we approach education, benefits, and work to match the new flexibility in our life stages?
2.) Change how we think about civic engagement:
What if we could crowd-source living expenses for national service participants so that giving a year of service could be an option for everyone regardless of economic status? What if you could exchange services with other people in your community without using money? What if “intergenerational programs” didn’t just mean one generation serving another, but many generations working together?
3.) Change how we think about transportation:
What if Americans no longer depended on cars to get around? What if public transportation were flexible and responsive to the routes and times that travelers need in real-time? What if every mode of public transportation—buses, trams, trains, light rails, ferries, you name it—were integrated into one flexible system you could tap into from your phone? Could bikesharing, carsharing (like Lyft, pictured), and ridesharing change the definition of public transportation? What do we already have the technology to accomplish?
4.) Change how we think about housing:
How does our built environment—buildings, transportation systems, parks, sidewalks—influence the way we interact with each other? What would it look like if we intentionally created a built environment that encourages people to connect? How do the housing needs of the millennial and baby boomer generations relate to each other? How can we change the way we think about housing to bring people together in multigenerational communities?
- Read the full “Out of Many, One: Uniting the Changing Faces of America” Report here.
- “Work” picture courtesy of “Emergency Brake.” View their Flickr photostream here.
- “Civic Engagement” picture courtesy of Michigan Municipal League. View their Flickr photostream here.
- “Transportation” picture courtesy of Alfredo Mendez. View their Flickr photostream here.
- “Housing” picture courtesy of “Images Money.” View their Flickr photostream here.