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How to Involve the Right Players in a Livable Communities Plan

AARP state offices share tips for getting off to a good start with key stakeholders

The successful implementation of a Livable Communities plan often begins with a workshop that engages key stakeholders. AARP state offices have helped organize and promote several such events.

Key Points

AARP has found that the best way to implement livable community strategies is to find, inspire and equip citizens and local officials to lead the way. In most situations, the best first step is to conduct a community engagement workshop. A successful workshop typically includes:

1. Engaging the right players

It’s important to reach out to a wide range of potential stakeholders, including elected officials, government staff, non-profit organizations, citizen activists and other groups and individuals representing multiple categories and focus areas (such as health, biking, sustainability, transportation, planning, parks and recreation, and so forth).

2. Focusing on a topic or specific area

There are many ways to make a community more “livable,” but finding a key “hot button” concern to frame the effort is better than trying to be all things to all people. For one community the area of focus might be pedestrian safety while another may see obesity prevention as its most pressing need.

3. Targeting a quick “win”

The goal here is to do something immediately after the workshop, ideally within 100 days, in order to generate community interest and maintain momentum.

The report shares the specific experiences from AARP state offices in Kansas, Vermont and Arkansas, with lessons learned from each.

How To Use

This case study can help community planners and local government officials determine a course of action for using community workshops to better engage stakeholders who are interested in creating a livable, age-friendly community.

Research published Fall 2013