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The U.S. Isn’t Just Getting Older. It’s Getting More Segregated by Age.


The abject absence of contact between generations undoubtedly contributes to worries about a coming generational war pitting kids versus canes over scarce public resources. But the biggest problem is widespread ageism rooted in stereotypes and sustained by the lack of contact between old and young.

A new group of innovators is finding efficiencies not in separating people by age but by bringing them together.

This is the most age-segregated society that’s ever been.

Cornell University professor Karl Pillemer

Nesterly, an intergenerational homesharing service, is one of these promising innovations. It marries the insight that many older people have rooms to spare and many students in higher education centers such as Boston, New York, and Los Angeles are struggling to afford sky-high rents. The startup connects older people who have extra space in their homes with young people who are looking for an affordable place to live. And it adds an additional feature: Students can perform chores in return for reduced rent.

Its cofounders, Noelle Marcus and Rachel Goor, are recent graduates of MIT’s city planning program. Inspired by the late Maggie Kuhn, founder of the Gray Panthers, an organization of intergenerational activists, and one of the early proponents of age-integrated housing, Marcus and Goor immersed themselves in studying the intersection of the sharing economy and affordable housing. Their agenda is to create this market and make a profit, but they describe themselves decidedly as a social enterprise, one that uses housing as a basis for creating connection across generations.

Read the whole story: https://hbr.org/2018/06/the-u-s-isnt-just-getting-older-its-getting-more-segregated-by-age

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