From Sun Cities to The Villages: A History of Active Adult, Age-Restricted Communities

From Sun Cities to The Villages: A History of Active Adult, Age-Restricted Communities

by Judith Ann Trolander


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Youngtown, Arizona, opened in 1954 and was the first development community to have a minimum age requirement (then 65) and to ban underage children as permanent residents. Developer Del Webb unveiled Sun City six years later. Adjacent to Youngtown, it offered modest homes abutting a golf course. In the ensuing decades, active adult communities have proliferated, including Harold Schwartz’s "The Villages" in central Florida, today the nation’s single largest retirement community.

For nearly sixty years, the success of these and similar communities have changed the image of retirees from frail, impoverished old people to energetic, well-off adults enjoying a resort-like lifestyle. While some experts predicted these communities would fail or undermine the obligations between generations, they are now firmly embedded as one possible extension of the American dream.

Judith Ann Trolander has written the first book-length history of the "active adult" lifestyle. Examining the origins, development, failures, and challenges facing these communities as the baby boomer population continues to age, she offers a truly original defense of a sometimes controversial aspect of American life.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813044484
Publisher: University Press of Florida
Publication date: 12/15/2012
Series: Sunbelt Studies
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 8.80(w) x 6.00(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Judith Ann Trolander, professor of history at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, is the author of Settlement Houses and the Great Depression and Professionalism and Social Change.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Preface xi

Introduction: Ignoring the Obvious 1

1 Democratizing Wintering in the South 12

2 Del Webb's "Sun City" Concept 47

3 Ross Cortese's "Leisure World" Concept 82

4 Creating Community: The Developers' Script 129

5 Proliferation and Standardization 166

6 An Active Adult Subculture: The Residents' Script 205

7 Assessment: Problems, Strengths, and Twenty-First-Century Trends 241

Conclusion: The Significance of Active Adult, Age-Restricted Communities 279

Notes 291

Bibliography 333

Index 341

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