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Intergenerational communities

Intergenerational communities promote interaction and cooperation between individuals of different ages and focus on the needs of all residents, especially children and older adults. This place-based approach to community building focuses on a distinct geographic area, such as a neighborhood, town, or county. Intergenerational communities may include leadership opportunities for all ages, multi-generational programming, and housing, transportation, or workforce polices that address the needs of residents of all ages. 

Expected Beneficial Outcomes (Rated)

  • Increased social connectedness

  • Increased social cohesion

  • Increased civic participation

Other Potential Beneficial Outcomes

  • Improved health outcomes

Evidence of Effectiveness

Intergenerational communities are a suggested strategy to increase social connectedness (APA-Ghazaleh 2011, CDC-Aging 2014), social cohesion (), and civic participation (, AECF-Henkin 2005). Available evidence suggests that Communities for All Ages, a common approach to establishing intergenerational communities through diverse partnerships with local organizations, appears to have benefits for individuals in both urban and rural areas (CFAA-Henkin 2012, ). Increasing opportunities for civic participation and community engagement may improve physical and emotional health among older adults ().

Separate funding streams supporting youth and older adult programming can be a challenge to planning and implementing intergenerational communities (CFAA-Henkin 2012).

Impact on Disparities

No impact on disparities likely

Implementation Examples

As of 2013, the National Communities for All Ages Network included 23 local initiatives in eight states spanning urban and rural areas (). Generations of Hope is another intergenerational community model, designed to support vulnerable families. Generations of Hope is in place in Portland, OR; Washington, DC; Tampa, FL; Rantoul, IL; and Easthampton, MA (Generations of Hope).

Generations United supports work towards intergenerational communities through its annual Best Intergenerational Communities Awards and other resources (GU).

Implementation Resources

CFAA-Resource guide - Brown C, Henkin N. Intergenerational community building: Resource guide. Philadelphia: Communities for All Ages (CFAA), The Intergenerational Center, Temple University; 2012.

IGC program tools - The Intergenerational Center (IGC), Temple University. Resources: Program tools.

Generations of Hope - Generations of Hope. Intergenerational communities for care and support networks.

GU - Generations United (GU). Because we are stronger together.

Citations - Evidence

* Journal subscription may be required for access.

Brown 2014b* - Brown C, Henkin N. Building communities for all ages: Lessons learned from an intergenerational community-building initiative. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology. 2014;24(1):63-68.

Hinterlong 2006* - Hinterlong JE, Williamson A. The effects of civic engagement of current and future cohorts of older adults. Generations. 2006;30(4):10-17.

AECF-Henkin 2005 - Henkin NZ, Holmes A, Walter B, Greenberg BR, Schwarz BR. Communities for all ages: Planning across generations. Baltimore: The Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF); 2005.

APA-Ghazaleh 2011 - Ghazaleh A, Greenhouse E, Homsy G, Warner M. Multi-generational planning: using smart growth and universal design to link the needs to children and the aging population. Chicago: American Planning Association (APA); 2011.

CDC-Aging 2014 - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). You're as young as you feel. 2014.

CFAA-Henkin 2012 - Henkin N, Brown C, Leiderman S. Intergenerational community building: Lessons learned. Philadelphia: Communities for All Ages (CFAA), The Intergenerational Center, Temple University; 2012.

Citations - Implementation Examples

* Journal subscription may be required for access.

Brown 2014b* - Brown C, Henkin N. Building communities for all ages: Lessons learned from an intergenerational community-building initiative. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology. 2014;24(1):63-68.

Generations of Hope - Generations of Hope. Intergenerational communities for care and support networks.

GU - Generations United (GU). Because we are stronger together.

Date Last Updated

Jan 27, 2017