Sonders is the Nation’s First Pre-Certified Lifelong Community as Recognized by CSU’s Institute for the Built Environment
Home is meant to be a permanent landing place, not a temporary stopover.
Sonders is prioritizing a healthy culture of aging by becoming the nation’s first Pre-Certified Lifelong Community. Developed by the Institute for the Built Environment (IBE) at Colorado State University, this pilot certification program identifies community design features that contribute to a healthy, sustainable, and accessible community for people of any age or ability.
The parks and amenities at Sonders are intended to give residents “points of contact,” ways to experience multiple mental, physical, and spiritual connections on a daily basis. This might be greeting neighbors as they walk along a trail outside your home, or enjoying the intentional biophilia that puts nature at your fingertips, or learning and growing together at the various Learning Center studios.
“Sonders is set apart from other master-planned communities in the area and of its size because of its purpose: to create a healthy culture for active aging,” says Bill Swalling, principal of Actual Communities, LLP. “New homes boast single-level living spaces; amenities keep residents engaged, active, and connected to the greater community; a sense of community that brings people together and helps aging residents avoid assisted or independent living facilities for as long as possible.”
All of the parks and amenities at Sonders have been submitted for permitting, and most are anticipated to open for resident use throughout 2024. Serene Park, along the shore of Richard’s Lake, is currently available for residents with ongoing improvements.
“The future of community design is being implemented today at Sonders,” says Brian Dunbar, executive director of the IBE. “This is truly a visionary community that is going above and beyond standard practices to create a place where people of all ages and abilities can live healthy, meaningful, and engaged lives. We’re honored that our institute has had the opportunity to collaborate with the Sonders team to develop and implement the world’s first Lifelong Communities Pre-certification and look forward to a continued beneficial partnership between CSU and Sonders.”
More than a quarter of our nation’s population is living with a disability and by 2030, more than 60 percent of Colorado’s population will be over 60 years old. Aging is an inevitable fact of life, and it’s time for the landscape of our communities to reflect that fact. That’s why Sonders Fort Collins has been designed from the ground up to be comfortable, accessible, and healthy for all ages and abilities.
How Sonders Embodies the Qualities of a Lifelong Community
As a pilot program for this new framework, Sonders excelled in many areas that make it an ideal home for those looking to age in place. Here are some of the qualities that make Sonders a Lifelong Community:
- Accessibility. Sonders is a highly accessible community with easy, well-lit walking paths and plenty of seating and resting areas along trails. Homes, sidewalks, and communal structures have all been designed with ease of access in mind.
- Nearby nature. Sonders’ intentional biophilic design, which includes abundant open spaces, parks and trails, the lake and its water features, improves the quality of life for all residents. More than 2.5 miles of trails are accessible from your front door, and all home lots at Sonders are designed to maximize water savings, open space and native grasses, and front or back to green spaces.
- Opportunities for learning and socializing. The Sonders Learning Center is a holistic amenity that embodies many of the qualities of a Lifelong Community. The Center provides opportunities to engage with others through volunteering, workshops, programs, activities, and classes, or to learn individually about history, community culture, and art. The three cottage-style studios – BODY Studio, ARTS Studio, and other planned studio – will each offer ongoing programming to keep minds and bodies active and fluid.
- Sustainability. From EV Charging stations located throughout the community, to solar flowers creating energy from sunlight at Evernew Park, Sonders Fort Collins celebrates comfort, energy efficiency, and sustainability. Swaths of native plantings accompanied by the manicured and intentionally-designed sensory gardens of Flourish Park help minimize our carbon footprint while providing more permeable surfaces and better heat absorption.
A Lifelong Community Is Better for All Residents
Meeting the criteria designed for a Lifelong Community is an achievement for Sonders Fort Collins, but more importantly, it’s an impressive benefit for the residents who live here.
We know what improves the experience of getting older and what keeps us healthy and alert as our bodies age: connections with nature, connections with other people of all ages, safety precautions and accessible environments, mental stimulation and intellectual engagement, healthy movement and surrounding beauty. Sonders Fort Collins did not add these features as an afterthought. These qualities are built into the design and function of this pioneering community, ensuring that residents can call this place home for every stage of their lives.
Explore the Sonders interactive community map to see for yourself how all of the Lifelong Community criteria are coming together in real life. And make sure you’re signed up for our emails to receive invitations to future amenity openings so you can truly see how this Lifelong Community is changing the game for community development.