What’s In Store in 2020

City on Science kicked off 2020 at the University of Louisville’s Cardiovascular Innovation Institute with a new format and a new lease on life. The Mayor joined our last meetup where we recapped 2019 and brainstormed how the group should evolve.

Most people enjoyed learning about the science and hearing from local researchers that had participated in the the studies. Based on this feedback, we talked through a new meeting format to begin City on Science meetups by discussing the findings up front in order to make the conversations more accessible to people.

What Did We Learn?

City on Science grants community members access to local research with the idea that we can all have an opportunity to read it prior to meeting up – and then discuss topics of interest. We learned that not everyone has time to read each month’s study, and that led to fewer contributions to group discussion.

To make the meeting format more accessible – we decided to start with the end in mind. By starting with what the research found, or what we learned, we can open up the conversation to everyone in the room regardless of whether or not they had a chance to read, or even skim the research prior to the meetup.

Note - January's presentation does not follow this format directly, as I tried to call an audible when putting the first presentation together. As a result, the conversation started off slower than it could have - and I have noted that feedback. That being said, the overall discussion was great, and the hope is that this minor tweak will kick the discussion and sharing into 12th gear from the get go.

Research Discussion

As we walked through the study’s findings and measures, the group discussed the variety of ways that Americans can age:

  • in place
  • with family
  • in assisted living facilities

and the relationship with quality of life among those options. Children of aging parents may be more or less inclined to place loved ones in assisted living communities based on their cultural backgrounds and there was a question about why Built Environment Quality and Social Capital were picked to be combined as measures for this study. There was also an open question about potential findings that left on the cutting room floor and NOT written about in the research.

Personal stories of caretaking for aging parents were shared by group members, which led to a free flowing discussion around the research. The study found that social capital plays an important role in the mental health of the elderly within assisted living facilities – and did not have significant findings on the role of built environment quality with mental health.

Since mental health is tightly connected to mortality, I posed a question to the group about what studies like this are intended to find… Is it important to research and find the things that increase longevity? Or is researching ways that enable living a satisfied life every day the goal of this type of research?

The group felt strongly that the second question was more important than the first, and that led to some potential future research questions.


Read Study Before Meetup
Come to our next event

Future Research

When it comes to aging and quality of life, the group was interested in a broad array of research around the following areas:

Social Capital
Can we compare life expectancy against social capital in assisted living communities?
How should we account for autonomy and agency while aging?
Quality of Life
How can we compare quality of life between assisted living and aging in place?
Quality of Life
How is quality of life affected throughout a lifetime of aging from 30s to 70s ?

About City on Science

City on Science reviews and discusses local research to increase the scientific knowledge and curiosity of the people of the Louisville Metropolitan Area. Our goal is to develop a collaborative agenda of future research topics and questions that matter to the community.

Founded in April 2019 as a pilot project for the Superfund Research Center at the University of Louisville Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute in partnership with the School of Public Health and Information Science, the City on Science project is managed by community members with fiscal sponsorship from 501(c)(3) nonprofit Institute for Education, Research, and Scholarship (IFERS).