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What is a Livable Community?

The term means different things to different people. Here’s our definition

A livable community is one that is safe and secure. It offers choices in where to live and how to get around. And it equitably serves residents of all ages, ability levels, incomes, races, ethnicities, and other backgrounds. Livable communities:

  • enhance personal independence;
  • allow residents to remain in their homes and communities as they age; and
  • provide opportunities for residents of all ages, ability levels, and backgrounds to engage fully in civic, economic, and social life.

Livability Principles


"A livable community is one that is safe and secure. It offers choices in where to live and how to get around. And it equitably serves residents of all ages, ability levels, incomes, races, ethnicities, and other backgrounds." AARP Policy Book, Chapter 13: Livable Communities

Livable communities include essential features that allow residents of all ages and backgrounds to thrive. These include mixed-use zoning , safe and varied transportation options, and diversity of housing types. Livable communities also include public spaces that benefit everyone. They also provide access to essential businesses, such as grocery stores.

The AARP Policy Book broadly highlights the major land-use, housing, and transportation policies that support successful aging.

Policymakers at the federal, state, and local levels have important roles to play in designing and maintaining — and at times, retrofitting — communities to be active places where residents of all ages, including those 50 and older, can participate fully.

The following principles set out the broad goals for policymakers, both in establishing such communities generally and in the specific areas of land use, housing, and transportation.

Visit Chapter 13 of the AARP Policy Book to learn more about: 

  • AARP Livable Communities Principles
  • Creating Livable and Sustainable Communities
  • Effective Planning
  • Disaster Planning and Recovery
  • Economic Development
  • Livable Communities Financing
  • Community Redevelopment and Revitalization

Access the complete AARP Policy Book

Get the "In a Livable Community ..." handout and poster (available in multiple languages)

From the AARP Policy Book 2021 - 2022

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