Register This Week for First-Ever Knoxville Livability Summit on Nov. 12

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Register This Week for First-Ever Knoxville Livability Summit on Nov. 12

Posted: 11/04/2015
Knoxville Livability Summit The first-of-its kind summit on Thursday, Nov. 12, will pull together local elected officials, planners, caregivers, advocates, architects, designers, developers and many others to tackle livability issues in a new way.

The Knoxville Livability Summit combines what had been three separate events. Those events had focused on either disability or aging issues, but not both.

The aim of the Knoxville Livability Summit – 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 12, at Rothchild Conference Center, 8807 Kingston Pike – is to take a holistic, comprehensive look at ways to design better-functioning communities for all people.

The summit combines:

• The City of Knoxville’s annual East Tennessee Accessibility Symposium;

• The annual Aging: A Family Affair Conference, hosted by the Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee Office on Aging; and

• Tennessee for a Lifetime, hosted by the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability.

The combination makes sense to Stephanie Cook, the City of Knoxville’s ADA Coordinator, because it brings together more people sharing wider experiences on livability issues.

“While the needs of seniors and people with disabilities are different, there are similarities and a lot of overlap,” she said. “It’s important to plan ways to help both sets of people.

“In fact, doing the same right things – big or small – will help everyone. If something works for a person with a disability, it will work for a senior – or for a young person, or for anyone else.”

Register for the Knoxville Livability Summit by calling 865-524-2786. The cost is $25. The deadline for registering is Friday, Nov. 6.

Livable communities allow all residents to maintain independence and quality of life. Factors include accessible and affordable housing, adequate mobility options and engagement in civic and social life.

Workshops at the Knoxville Livability Summit are designed to help leaders assess the livability standards in their communities and gain the tools necessary to improve the quality of life for older adults and persons with disabilities.

Additional workshops, geared toward individual seniors or people with disabilities, cover many interests. For example, attendees can get information about “power foods for life” and proactive strategies for a healthy brain; they can find out about strolls at Ijams Nature Center or in Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness, or they can get a primer from a certified elder law attorney on ways to avoid legal headaches.

“There’s a wide variety of topics,” said Susan Long, Director of CAC’s Office on Aging. “There really is something for everyone.”

The summit features nationally-known anthropologist Dr. Phil Stafford, Director of the Center on Aging and Community at the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community at Indiana University. He has been publishing, teaching, conducting research and consulting in the field of aging for more than 35 years. He is the editor of “Gray Areas: Ethnographic Encounters with Nursing Home Culture” and, more recently, “Elderburbia: Aging with a Sense of Place in America.“
Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero is inviting East Tennessee mayors to attend the Nov. 12 summit.

“We are excited to be hosting this regional summit on livability, because it’s a new opportunity for caregivers, advocates, builders and planners to share ideas on a regional level,” Mayor Rogero said. “We are inviting all East Tennessee mayors to join us to discuss and learn from each other how to make our cities more ‘livable.’”

About 10,000 Americans each day celebrate their 65th birthday, Cook said. And 20 percent of Americans have some sort of disability.

“A huge population directly benefits from planners creating a more livable community,” she said. “And of course, having a healthy, diverse community benefits us all.

“The Knoxville Livability Summit offers an opportunity to gain a lot of local perspective and learn a lot in one day. When people leave the summit, they’ll be taking good information and tools they need to increase livability back to their communities.”

For more information or help with a disability accommodation, contact Cook at or 865-215-2034. 

For those preferring to not drive to the summit, a bus at the start of the day will transport people from the John T. O’Connor Senior Citizens Center, 611 Winona St., to the Rothchild Conference Center. Those wishing to ride the free bus should arrive at the O’Connor Center no later than 8 a.m. The bus won’t shuttle throughout the day, but it will return people from the Rothchild Conference Center to the O’Connor Center when the summit ends at 3:30 p.m.