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WASHINGTON, D.C.–December 28, 2023— Today, in collaboration with AARP, the National Building Museum announces plans for a multi-year Future Cities initiative that will explore the future of the country’s urban spaces and how to increase the livability of neighborhoods and communities to make them more vibrant and welcoming places for people of all ages.

The Museum launched the Future Cities initiative in September 2023 with a public symposium focused on the impact to communities and neighborhoods when housing becomes unaffordable. A diverse group of thought leaders from policy, academia and the public and private sectors engaged in critical conversations about the challenges and opportunities facing communities on this timely issue. Building off that momentum, the Museum is scaling Future Cities into a three-year investigation of the changing nature of the urban environment.

“We believe this multi-year collaboration will be strengthened by the Museum’s ability to amplify the AARP Livability Index™ platform over the next three years,” said Aileen Fuchs, president and executive director of the National Building Museum. “By working together to develop and present exhibitions, programs, and convenings around the Future Cities initiative, our audiences will better understand the complex and critical need for neighborhoods to provide services and amenities that affect lives and inspire action to enhance independence, choice, and quality of life for all residents.”

This three-year initiative will build towards the opening of a major exhibition in 2026 during the nation’s semi-quincentennial celebration, telling the story of America, past, present, and future, through an investigation of its cities.

In 2024, the Museum will work with AARP to identify and work with allied partners including home builders, developers, and advocacy groups who collectively contribute and create opportunities for aging in place, and for older adults to live in housing that meets their needs.

Additionally, throughout the next year, the Museum will host a series of workshops, partnering with local organizations to disseminate information to the general public about home buying and delving deeper into the meaning of housing affordability and livability.

In early 2025, the Future Cities initiative will present Come Together (working title). This exhibition will explore the necessary rethinking of American downtowns as we move past the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to grapple with profound and lasting shifts in American life. With hollowed out commercial cores, vacant office spaces, housing shortages, rising homelessness and more—the way we live, work, play, and engage in our downtowns needs a complete reimagining. This exhibition will address how our urban cores are being reinvented to serve the needs of existing and new residents.

Supporting Come Together, and an intentional part of the planning for the 2026 exhibition, the Museum will host the Future Cities: Downtown Summit in 2025. This convening will bring a diversity of voices into conversation around the relevance and regeneration of our urban hubs.

Finally, in 2026, a new major exhibition will present the history of the development of America through an investigation of its cities and explore their current and future livability through a thematic approach. This story will be told through various lenses, including transportation, environment, cultural beacons, changing demographics, preservation and gentrification, health care, and spirituality, and will focus on 10 – 12 mid-size cities to see how these themes have, and are, continuing to shape the built environments we live in and share. The exhibition will be complemented by a robust schedule of programs and educational opportunities for all ages.


AARP is the presenting sponsor of the Future Cities initiative.

IMAGES: Images from the launch are available HERE.

National Building Museum: Karen Baratz,, 240.497.1811

The National Building Museum inspires curiosity about the world we design and build. We believe that understanding the impact of architecture, engineering, landscape architecture, construction, planning, and design is important for everyone. Through exhibitions, educational programs, and special events, we welcome visitors of all ages to experience stories about the built world and its power to shape our lives, our communities, and our futures. Public inquiries: 202.272.2448,, or visit Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.