Dr. John Lewis is a community planner and engineer with research expertise in the areas of urban and landscape design, geodesign and community engagement software, accessible planning, and age-friendly communities. He has worked professionally as an urban planner and is currently a planning advisor to the City of Waterloo, the Town of Hanover, the Municipality of Huron East, and the Town of Orangeville. He was one of the main researchers and authors of “Finding the Right Fit – Age Friendly Community Planning” from the Ontario Seniors’ Secretariat, a province-wide guideline for evaluating and creating age-friendly communities. Dr. Lewis is a founder and CEO Vidyā Inc., a software startup based in Kitchener-Waterloo that advocates for and works with communities to advance the twin ideals of contemporary community planning – visioning and collaboration for sustainable community growth.
Planning About Us, and By Us: Reflections on Waterloo’s Collaborative Age-Friendly Initiative
Ms. Arlene Groh RN, BA, is a consultant for Healing Approaches for Elder Abuse and Mistreatment (www.healingapproaches.com). She pioneered and coordinated the Restorative Justice Approaches to Elder Abuse Project, was a founding member of Waterloo Region’s Elder Abuse Response Team and chairs the City of Waterloo Multi-Agency Age-Friendly Advisory Committee. In 2009 Arlene initiated a movement for the City of Waterloo to actively engage in preventing elder abuse by becoming an Age Friendly City (AFC). With the support of the Mayor, City staff and residents an Age Friendly City Mayor’s Advisory Committee was formed with a goal to ensure that Waterloo is a place where all residents age safely, enjoy good health and participate fully in their community. Arlene is a passionate champion and strategist for working in partnership to identify, resolve and prevent elder abuse. Her practice is guided by restorative justice philosophy and values. She is the recipient of many awards for her outstanding contribution to seniors and her dedication to the prevention of elder abuse.
Among policy makers and academics, the necessity to translate age friendly community planning principles into sustained action is, by now, well established. University researchers are accustomed to thinking in terms of interdisciplinary collaboration and are now increasingly encouraged to engage in ‘scholarship of practice’ by conducting research and policy making collaboratively with public sector and community partners. While reflections on the factors that support interdisciplinary academic research are common, assessments of the management multi sector collaborative work are less so. This presentation will present a critical reflection on the ‘multi stakeholder’ work of the City of Waterloo’s Age Friendly MultiAgency Advisory Committee involving the collaboration of university, public sector and community partners, and led by community older adults. The presentation will address the factors that have contributed to or challenged implementation success and highlights the need for governments to invest in the social capital needed to sustain age-friendly initiatives led by older adults.