Naturally occuring retirement communities (NORCs) are a response to the desire of seniors to remain in their own homes as long as possible, otherwise known as aging in place. In some parts of the country there are neighborhoods in towns and cities where an unusually large percentage of the population is retired. In some cases this concentration is intentional and in others it is accidental.
Some of the intentional NORCs have resulted through the dedicated efforts of many volunteers and professsional social workers. These hardworking folks have striven to provide a cooperative framework where retirement in place becomes possible. Essential services are pooled so that maintenance, transportation, eldercare, shopping, and other parts of living are available for hire or in exchange for other services. It is similar to the cohousing movement, but typically without a shared physical faciliy.
The prototypical naturally occuring retirement community is Beacon Hill Village in Boston. This cooperative NORC started up in 2001 and is now studied carefully by other communities seeking to emulate its success. There is a group in New Haven, CT trying to set up a similar community, see "Community Without Walls"
Elder Co-housing Network
NORCs - An Aging in Place Initiative
Cohousing Might Be Your Answer
100 Best Places to Retire