AARP recently concluded its comprehensive "Livability for All: The 2016 AARP Age-Friendly Community Survey" report, which surveyed residents age 50 and older in 11 metros across the country about the features of their current housing, the importance of community features, and the need gaps between present conditions and preferences.

The survey drills down into "eight domains of livability" the World Health Organization (WHO) has identified as being key to the quality of life of older adults, and reflects the views of 5,978 residents over the age of 50 from a total of 14 metros.

Note: Three of the 14 metros (Philadelphia, Washington County, and West Sacramento) surveyed residents age 45 and older, thus dipping into the Gen X population.

Last week, out sister site, REMODELING, broken down results of AARP's Age-Friendly Community Survey on top five home modifications that boomers need to retire in their current homes.

Another portion of the study finds that accessibility not only tops boomers' list for home features, but also for community features as well. Being aware of these important outdoor features to boomers can help remodelers and building product professionals better understand this huge cohort of customers, who are likely to have more remodeling request as they're retiring.

By rating the importance of certain outdoor community features versus the degree to which their communities incorporate them, boomers across all surveyed markets have revealed a need gap for a handful of features in their communities (average % of respondents rating a feature "important," minus the average % of respondents living in a community that already incorporates that feature).

Biggest "Need Gaps" for Outdoor Features:

1. Well-maintained public restrooms with accessibility features:
Average % importance rating: 93%
Average % in current community: 31%
Average need gap: 62%

2. Separate pathways for bicyclists and pedestrians
Average % importance rating: 90%
Average % in current community: 37%
Average need gap: 53%

3. Public parks with enough benches
Average % importance rating: 90%
Average % in current community: 41%
Average need gap: 49%

4. Sidewalks that are in good condition
Average % importance rating: 95%
Average % in current community: 49%
Average need gap: 48%

5. Neighborhood Watch programs
Average % importance rating: 93%
Average % in current community: 46%
Average need gap: 47%

Across all markets, the majority of respondents would like "separate pathways for bicyclists and pedestrians," and "well-maintained public restrooms that are accessible to people with different physical abilities," but have no access to those features in their current community.

The importance and current presence of each feature varies by market. In Philadelphia, the biggest need is for accessible, well-maintained public restrooms, which are important to 94% respondents but available to only 17%. In Brownsville, Texas, boomers value Neighborhood Watch programs (94%), but only 22% of respondents live in a community that currently has a program in place.

You can see importance and current community presence ratings for the top three needed outdoor community features in all 14 markets below:

This article was originally featured on our sister site, BUILDER. Read the full article here>>