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Livability Literature Review: A Synthesis Of Current Practice

The National Association of Regional Councils' review of literature about livability has been added to the Research Center's best practices database.

"Livability Literature Review: A Synthesis Of Current Practice" is designed to assist practitioners and policymakers in understanding how states and localities define, plan and implement livability.

In 2009, the Partnership for Sustainable Communities was created among the Environmental Projections Agency, the Department of Transportation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. “to help improve access to affordable housing, more transportation options, and lower transportation costs while protecting the environment in communities nationwide.”

"Guided by the goals of the Partnership, the federal government has committed significant resources and attention to implementing livability in state and local governments," the authors of the report explain. But the the multitude of local, state and federal livability initiatives and the lack of widespread local and regional implementation tools led the National Association of Regional Councils to explore how practitioners and policy officials implement and integrate livability on local and regional levels.

Using the Partnership’s six livability principles as a framework, NARC identified the tactics and mechanisms local governments and their regional planning organizations used to support these principles.  Among the common themes identified in literature:

  • Livability and Sustainability
  • Smart Growth
  • Complete Streets
  • Lifelong Communities
  • Safe Routes to Schools
  • Context Sensitive Solutions and Design
  • New Urbanism
  • Transit-Oriented Development Placemaking

Read the introduction and download the full report