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Can’t Find Your Ideal Retirement Community: How About a New Urban Community?

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

January 4, 2011 — Many baby boomers we run into are perplexed about where they will live in retirement. A big concern often centers around the bewildering number of choices – how can they find the town that matches their personality and their dreams for retirement? They often have an easier time ruling out regions or states than have choosing a particular retirement spot.

In our opinion an often overlooked choice for retirement is what is alternatively called the New Urban, Master Planned, or Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND). These communities – some totally new, while others are older towns that have invested heavily in urban planning – deliver on many of the requirements held by so many baby boomers. Those include walkability, easy access to a real town/city center, and an attractive environment with solid recreational possibilities.

Retro Urbanism
New Urbanism is, in our opinion, an oxymoron. “Retro Urbanism” might be a better term. That is because the movement seems more like a return to what towns were like before cars changed everything – there is really nothing “new” about it! There are plenty of examples of very old towns that are a perfect example of great urban planning – like Savannah, GA; Washington, D.C.; Venice, FL; not to mention almost every walled city in Europe. In all of these cases residences are clustered around parks, shops, and restaurants – making everyday life possible without jumping in and out of cars.

According to Wikipedia, “New Urbanism is an urban design movement, which promotes walkable neighborhoods that contain a range of housing and job types. It arose in the United States in the early 1980s… New Urbanism ….encompasses principles such as traditional neighborhood design (TND).” Wikipedia lists many other characteristics shared by these communities.

If you have not been able to come up with some retirement towns that strike your fancy, perhaps you should look at some of the many new urban communities both in the U.S. and abroad. Some of these communities were designed exclusively with retirement in mind, some had little or no thought about retirement living, and some that purposely include 55+ communities along with developments for people of all ages. Here are some, but by no means all, of the “new urban” communities listed at Topretirements that are ideal for today’s retirees (Use Advanced Search and “Search 55+ Communities by Amenities” to find more. Some are towns while others are developments – see notes at end about assumptions about what constitutes a new urban or TND community):

Fairhope, AL

The Village of Providence (Huntsville, AL)

Abacoa (Jupiter, FL)

Nocatee (Ponte Vedra, FL)

The Villages (south of Ocala, FL)

Ave Maria (Naples, FL)

Winter Park, FL

Sun City’s (some, but not all the Sun City’s)

Seaside, FL

Celebration (Orlando, FL)

Palm Coast, FL

Victoria Park, (Deland, FL)

Fleming Island Plantation (Orange Park, FL)

Peachtree City, GA

Atlantic Station (Atlanta, GA)

Columbia, MD

New Jersey
Washington Town Station (Robbinsville, NJ)

North Carolina
Fearrington Village (Chapel Hill, NC)

The Seaside Village (Sunset Beach, NC)

South Carolina
Verdae Village (Greenville, SC)

What’s in a Name?
For purposes of this article we included communities that we know to be new urban or TND type communities. Obviously there are gradations within about exactly how “new urban” a community is – some fit that description more or less. And, there are no New Urban, master-planned, or TND police out there enforcing standards. For example many active adult communities are master-planned (we sure hope they have a plan!), but that does not mean that their shops and a town center are within a 10 minute walk, or that you can avoid driving to meet your neighbors and get the services of everyday living.

For further reference:
Check Out the New Urbanism (Jan Cullinane)
Wikipedia article about New Urbanism
List of Traditional Neighborhood Developments
Use Advanced Search to find more
Nocatee, Florida

Posted by John Brady on January 4th, 2011


  1. Hi,

    I have never written to you before. We are 59, hope to retire within the next five years, and are
    actively looking for WHERE?? You piece of New Urbanism drew my attention as we are seeking
    this lifestyle and have been looking at small cities.

    I noticed you listen Washington Town Station in your piece. This development is close enough
    to walk to some shopping, that’s it. You need a car to go anywhere. It is also FULL of young
    children as it is affordable for the area. It is considered starter housing. I know of more than one
    retiree you bought there and later sold. Many of the children may be unsupervised after school.

    I guess I was disappointed to see it on your list. When I think of Urbanism I don’t think of a
    builder’s development, in the middle of suburbia. I hope this isn’t the wave of the future.

    Most sincerely,
    Deborah Cacho

    by Deborah Cacho — January 5, 2011

  2. […] opportunities to interact with other people while walking about to do their daily activities. Our article on new urban communities has many […]

    by » What Style of Active Community Hits Your Sweet Spot Topretirements — September 30, 2011

  3. we live in sun city west, az. and have all kinds of clubs including, clay,ceramics,wood working, metal working,all card clubs, walking pools and swimming pools, pickle ball, tennis and more. we are looking for something simualr in North Carolina or Virginia. Please inform us if any are available as we would like to move closer to our kids and grandkids.

    Jack and Sara Edwards
    Editor’s Note: Our suggestion is to look in our NC and VA Directories of Active Adult Communities. There are many communities that might match your needs, although few are as big as Sun City. Good luck.

    by Jack Edwards — October 2, 2011

  4. […] For further reference America’s Walkable Cities from PBS (large and mid-size) Prevention Magazine’s Best Cities for Walkers Forbes Most Walkable Cities Florida Cities for Walkability Consider Walkability in Your Best Place to Retire How About a New Urban Community for Retirement […]

    by » 10 Great Walkable Towns for Retirement Topretirements — March 19, 2013

  5. […] For further reading: Best Towns for Walkability How About a New Urban Community for Your Retirement […]

    by » 7 Great Places to Retire for Livability Topretirements — February 10, 2014

  6. […] 1) 7 Great Places to Retire for Livability 5 Big Reasons Why Small Towns Are Great Places to Retire How About a New Urban Community for Retirement See our 2 Part Series on Great Lake Towns for […]

    by » 10 Great Places in the Mountains for Retirement Topretirements — July 22, 2014

  7. […] Frustrated about Finding Your Ideal Community – How About a New Urban Community? […]

    by » Paper or Plastic – Do You Yearn to Retire in a Traditional Community? - Topretirements — January 19, 2015

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