Community events as part of age-friendly community practice

Natalie Elaine Pope, Emily Greenfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


As the number of localities committing to age-friendly progress increases worldwide, there is growing interest in the processes and contexts that lead to systemic and long-term age-friendly community (AFC) impact. Our study aimed to advance research in this area by exploring community events as a mechanism through which practitioners work toward AFC goals. We used semi-structured interview data with core teams that participated in a multi-year developmental evaluation of eight grant-funded AFC initiatives in New Jersey. We employed a constructivist grounded theory approach to analyze the data, focusing on how AFC leaders facilitate events and what they perceive as the value of events. Findings highlighted the centrality of an inter-organizational context for event planning and implementation, as well as the unique positioning of AFC leaders relative to other community actors. Results further indicated that AFC leaders view events as immediately benefiting older adults and local organizational partners, while also having longer-term strategic value, including by deepening older adults’ engagement with the AFC initiative, providing opportunities for core teams to learn about aging in community, and expanding the AFC initiative’s community presence. We interpret these findings within a community-building framework, theorizing that events can strategically build relational capacity to sustain age-friendly progress within broader community systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-318
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Community Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration


  • Age-friendly communities
  • aging in community
  • capacity building
  • community development
  • healthy aging
  • program implementation


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