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Seminar To Explore Livable Communities

Published: April 16, 2018

Friends of Newtown Seniors (FONS) has been looking at the eight areas, or domains, outlined by the World Health Organization (WHO) and AARP that those groups explore when considering whether a town or city hosts an age-appropriate environment for senior citizens.

The domains include outdoor spaces and buildings, transportation, housing, social participating, respect and social inclusion, civic participating and employment, communication and information, and community support and health service.

WHO is working to create age-friendly environments so that senior citizens can continue to enjoy their lives and remain as independent as possible. Conversely, towns and municipalities following WHO and/or AARP’s guidelines are encouraged to tap into the potential offered by older people, which WHO describes as those age 60 and older.

FONS has been looking at those eight domains for a few years. Members now want to hear from residents on what they think Newtown is already doing, and what the town can improve for its aging population.

A Livable Community Program has been scheduled for Saturday, April 28. The free event will run from 9 am until 2 pm, in the cafetorium of Newtown High School, 12 Berkshire Road. All residents are invited, and complimentary lunch will be provided.

FONS Chair John S. Boccuzzi, Sr, said the overall mission of the day is for all participants to “have a really good dialogue around the idea of a livable community and its eight domains.”

Mr Boccuzzi last month called the idea of Newtown as a livable community an “intellectual undertaking that will have a good payoff in the end.”

The FONS event will also use recent research from AARP, which has also been working with elected officials at all levels, as well as planners and citizen activists, to help towns and cities, counties, and states create age-friendly, livable communities for all ages. AARP also follows the eight domains outlined by WHO in looking at what already exists and what is needed to improve livability.

“We will discuss the concept of a livable community, centered on the eight domains identified by World Health Organization as critical areas to examine when looking at the livability of a community,” Mr Boccuzzi said March 12.

According to a draft agenda shared with The Newtown Bee, table captains on April 28 will lead each group in reviewing local research and current findings; discuss desired situations, gaps, opportunities, challenges and examples; and identify desired strategies through task analysis and initial goals.

Table captains will be as follows: Beth Ann Fetzer, vice president and community development officer for Savings Bank of Danbury (who will lead the discussion on social participation); Duane Giannini, vice president-human resources, Newtown Savings Bank (respect and social engagement); and Mary Ann Jacob, former Legislative Council chair and director of incentive management at Budderfly LLC (civic engagement and employment).

Also, former First Selectman Pat Llodra (outdoor spaces and buildings); architect John Madzula (housing); Steve Rosenblatt, who retired following a career in advertising (communication and information); former First Selectman Herb Rosenthal (transportation); and Ned Simpson, who retired in 2014 following a career in health care operations and systems (community and health services).

Following a break, lunch will be served while reports from each domain are presented to the full group. Maplewood at Newtown will be providing refreshments and lunch, according to Mr Boccuzzi.

Also helping with the event are Ingersoll Auto of Danbury, Newtown’s Commission on Aging, Newtown Public Schools, and Visiting Angels, Mr Boccuzzi said.

The afternoon will include a brief participatory exercise, and deciding the priorities and setting goals for Newtown, before adjourning at 2 pm.

Additional volunteer researchers have been enlisted by FONS to supplement the work of each table captain.
Bill Brimmer, a former town selectman, will open the program and serve as the day’s emcee, according to Mr Boccuzzi.

Reservations are requested for the FONS Livable Community program, and can be done by contacting the group at 203-430-0633 or

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FONS livable community seminar pvw -- Giannini & Rosenthal-FONS logo collage

Duane Giannini (left) and Herb Rosenthal will be among those leading discussions on the eight domains considered by Friends Of Newtown Seniors when considering whether Newtown is a livable community, and what can be improved, during a free public seminar taking place Saturday, April 28.


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