Del Webb 2.0

The Subtle Shifts in Retirement Community Designs

Del Webb, the country’s biggest builder of “active adult” housing, is changing its formula to appeal to Baby Boomers.

CityLab, Sept. 8, 2015

On January 1, 1960, the Del E. Webb Corporation invited members of the public to see its new community, Sun City, Arizona. Sun City was not just a new development, but a new concept: a place where senior citizens could enjoy a busy, social retirement, playing golf and shuffleboard in year-round sunshine. It was so novel that company executives were not sure anyone would come.

Instead, 100,000 people flocked to the grand opening, touring the model homes, the golf course, the shopping center. By 1970, Sun City had a population of 16,000; it now has 37,000 residents and a sister development next door, Sun City West, with another 25,000.

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It’s Okay to Change Your Name

It’s Fine to Take Your Spouse’s Name

There are many reasons people still do it—and to misunderstand them is to misunderstand the possibilities of the modern family.

Pacific Standard, Aug. 31, 2015

Is your name the heart of your identity, or a patriarchal hand-me-down? If you lose it, is that choice or capitulation? The debate over women changing their names continues, and—at the risk of adding oxygen to a curiously unquenchable fire—I’d like to argue that supporting women who keep their names (as we should!) doesn’t necessitate scolding women who don’t. We should also resist making easy assumptions about why women take their spouse’s name; it’s the conventional path, yes, but that doesn’t mean their reasons are necessarily conventional.

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Photograph: Shutterstock / Fabrik Bilder



The Tyranny of Snacks

No, your kid may not have a snack

The Washington Post, May 28, 2015

Not long ago, I got an e-mail from the mother of a child in my son’s class. The subject line alone was enough to jack up my blood pressure. “Aren’t we done with this already?” I fumed to myself. “They’re in third grade now, for heaven’s sake!”

The words that set me off: “Snack Calendar Invite.”

America is in the clutches of an insidious disease, one that thrives on the good intentions of parents and leaves a trail of wet Goldfish in its wake. I’m talking, of course, about our obsession with snacks.

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Bodies at Work

From treadmill desks to $1,000 chairs, the marketplace for health-conscious office furniture is booming. But what do you really need to invest in?

Johns Hopkins Health Review, Spring/Summer 2015

If sitting is the new smoking, I have a pack-a-day habit. Like most Americans, I lead a sedentary life. I’m a writer, and in the run-up to a big deadline, I might sit at my desk for 12 or 14 hours a day. I belong to the growing cohort of home workers, so my morning commute is a mere seven steps from bedroom to office. How convenient—and yet how bad for my body, hunched over a laptop again when it could be ambling down the street or even standing upright in a packed subway car. Sure, I intend to take yoga breaks, to get up and stretch. Then a new email pops up. And then another …

In an era of instant communication and rocketing productivity, there’s still no hack that can change our mortal nature. We are flesh and blood, prone to all that entails, whatever we do for a living. “We all bring our bodies to work,” says Dr. Francesca Litow, co-director of the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Training Program in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

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Illustration by Ray Zapanta 


Cities and Child Care

How Cities and Counties Are Taking the Lead on Child Care

CityLab, May 19, 2015

America is waking up to child care as a major political issue. Back in January, President Obama discussed it at length for the first time in his State of the Union address. “In today’s economy, when having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for many families, we need affordable, high-quality childcare more than ever,” the president said, as parents around the country cheered (or shouted “Finally!” in exasperation).

Our child-care problem is really a cluster of them. First, there is the cost. On average, according to a 2014 report by Child Care Aware, parents of an infant in Massachusetts spend a shocking $16,549 per year for child care—that’s 53 percent more than public-college tuition. And Massachusetts is not an outlier: In his speech, Obama talked about a Minnesota family who spend more on child care than on their mortgage, which is not that uncommon.

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