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Making the Real World More Livable—Virtually

AARP has joined a unique partnership with Westchester County, N.Y., to make the county more livable for residents young and old. In 2006, County Executive Andrew J. Spano launched an initiative called "Westchester County Livable Communities: A Vision for All Ages, Bringing People and Places Together." The goal of the initiative is to bring government, residents, nonprofits, faith-based and academic institutions, and businesses together to take action to improve the community.

Through the partnership, hundreds of Westchester residents and volunteers have become involved in grassroots activities and advocacy to overcome challenges and improve their quality of life. One of the initiative's major features is an online mapping tool that allows older residents to enter their ZIP codes to find resources and services that make the county more livable. People relying on the mapping tool can also use the Web site to offer feedback on county resources and services.

In recognition of the rapidly aging population of Westchester, several organizations have joined the initiative. Sponsors include AARP, the Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services, the Westchester Public/Private Partnership for Aging Services, and the volunteer center of the United Way of Westchester and Putnam Counties.

Westchester County, N.Y., is leading the nation in its livable community efforts. Its model of engagement is one that should be replicated throughout the state of New York and around the nation.

Livable Communities Evaluation Guide

We all want to live in livable communities. Each of us has his or her own image of how a livable community should look. That image is shaped, in part, by our reaction to the towns and cities in which we now live or used to live.

The purpose of this Livable Communities Evaluation Guide is to encourage you to take a new look at the community or neighborhood where you live now.

Although this guide is written to assist older people in particular, the features and services discussed promote livability for residents of all ages and abilities. Livability can only become a reality in our individual communities and neighborhoods when citizens actively take charge.

AARP encourages you to use this Web site as another instrument in your toolbox for working to transform and improve your community.  Whether the issue you are most concerned about is transportation, walkability, or housing, you have a resource in our survey forms. Use them to document the need for improvements and to guide you to communicate and incorporate AARP, your neighbors, community members, and other important groups, in supporting positive changes in your community.

You may be surprised at the many parallel efforts and number of like-minded citizens interested in making the kinds of improvements you support. Jump right in; you are not alone, and we have been hoping you'd join us!

For this program, AARP New York is focused on three topics:

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