Note from Storm: The various qualities that contribute to “livability” or “quality of life” are often goals of good revitalization initiatives. By “good”, I mean multi-faceted programs that don’t shy away from the complexity of the revitalization challenge. This is as opposed to the simplistic actions that often pass for revitalization initiatives, such as employer recruitment campaigns, marketing/positioning campaigns, and silver-bullet projects (convention centers, sports stadiums, aquariums, etc.). Livability is a complex, difficult to measure concept, so I was happy to see a significant organization like AARP toss their hat into the ring. Cities can’t achieve or manage what they can’t measure.
From the article: Over the past few years, AARP has become a much more vocal advocate in Washington, DC for walkable, affordable communities for seniors. But they recently put the full weight of their 38-million-member organization behind livability with their new Livable Communities Index. Given how powerful AARP is on Capitol Hill and in state legislatures around the country, this is a boost for all of us focused on reducing the real social, economic, and health costs of car-dependent, sprawled-out communities. At all levels, AARP is pushing for policies that support aging in place, which is what their research tells them 80 percent of seniors want to do.
AARP argues that a livable community has “affordable and appropriate housing, supportive community features and services, and adequate mobility options, which together facilitate personal independence and engagement of residents in civic and social life.” Furthermore, a livable community is a place where folks “can get to go where they want to go, living comfortably and in good health, and being able to remain active and engaged.” AARP argues that what is good for older Americans is for good for all.
AARP also released their list of the 10 most livable neighborhoods, and 30 most livable cities in the country, separated into large, medium, and small-sized cities.