Eunju Hwang, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, United States
Many small towns in South Korea experience an increasing number of older adults growing older. In the coal mining community of Munkyung, there has been an interest to become more age-friendly so a survey of some 630 residents aged 45 years and over in May 2019 was conducted to better understand their perceptions. In recent times the town has become more diverse with Southeast Asian immigrants.
The average age of the participants was 63.7 years of age and most wanted to grow older in their community. The participants perceived accessible public transportation, easy to read traffic sign, and safety at public transportation stops as priorities. On the other hand, affordable rental housing was a less important feature. Overall, over 80 percent of the participants wanted to stay in their community yet did not feel that their neighbors respected them. To make the town more age-friendly, creative place making for cultural diversity and intergenerational exchanges will be required.