Connecting With Communities Near You
Learn how to get involved in local livability work and meet others who are doing the same
Livable communities and age-friendly work is happening nationwide. If you’re unable to make it to the national gatherings that AARP Livable Communities has a presence at (see the sidebar), check out the following organizations for state, regional and sometimes very local chapters, affiliates and events.
National and Nationwide
Representatives of the AARP Livable Communities initiative attend and often speak at conferences hosted by other organizations that work on livability issues: AARP Livable On the Road
AARP has offices in all 50 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The state offices host educational events and advocate for issues important to older adults, communities and people of all ages. Find the office that serves your area: AARP.org/States
If your community is a member of the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities, it likely has a related commission you can get involved with. If your community isn't in the network, it might still have an age-friendly, livability or other type of commission or effort you can join: AARP.org/AgeFriendly
While several of the organizations listed are membership associations for municipalities or professional livability practitioners, with events open only to paid members, many do host activities that non-members can pay to participate in and most have online resources and free e-newsletters anyone can access.
Main Street America
Main Street America, a program of the National Main Street Center, works to revitalize older and historic commercial districts to build thriving neighborhoods and economies. Municipalities and organizations join as members. The program has affiliate programs throughout the country and its annual national conference is open to non-members. The website tab “Main Street America Programs” includes a downloadable list of the local affiliates.
Learn more: MainStreet.org
Project for Public Spaces
A nonprofit organization, PPS is helps people create and sustain public spaces that build strong communities. PPS hosts in-house trainings, conferences and events including the annual Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place conference and "Placemaking Week" gatherings.
Learn more: PPS.org
Strong Towns advocates for community and sustainability-focused development that improves the resiliency and financial strength of cities, towns and neighborhoods. Representatives from the nonprofit show up for events and presentations in local places (recent examples include Salida, Colorado, and Duncanville, Texas). The organization publishes articles, produces podcasts and hosts a global conversations online platform called the Strong Towns Community.
Learn more: StrongTowns.org
International City/County Management Association (ICMA)
ICMA is a professional organization for city and county managers and others working in local government. Some APTA events are open to non-members. To find state and local associations, go to the Member Center dropdown tab and select "Affiliate Organizations."
Learn more: ICMA.org
National Association of Area Agencies on Aging
Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and Title VI Native American aging programs were established in the 1970s to address the needs of Americans age 60 or over in every local community. The national association of the AAAs is the umbrella organization representing the 622 local agencies that serve older adults. (Local agencies can be found through the Eldercare Locator.)
Learn more: N4A.org
National Association of Counties
NACo membership consists of county governments. Once a county is a member, the benefits extend to all of the county's officials and staff. Some gatherings are open to non-members. State and other affiliate associations can be found under the “What We Do” tab.
Learn more: NACo.org
National Association of Regional Councils
The interchangeable terms regional council (RC) and council of governments (COG) describe local commissions, committees or organizations that exist to enable elected officials to collaborate with neighboring local governments and work across jurisdictions. A Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is an agency created by federal law to provide the input of local elected officials into the planning and implementation of federal transportation funds to metropolitan areas with populations of greater than 50,000. Both types of groups are among the members of the NARC, which hosts a listing of state councils and organizations, which, in turn, provide listings of more local organizations.
Learn more: NARC.org
National Council on Aging
National Council on Aging partners with organizations and elected officials to provide community programs, services and advocacy. NCOA provides education and resources on issues that affect older adults such as economics, in addition to providing programs to improve health. The “Get Involved” tab on the NCOA website features a searchable map of the council’s partners and programs.
Learn more: NCOA.org
National League of Cities
National League of Cities is a membership organization that serves as a resource and advocate for the nation’s cities and their leaders. The organization hosts an annual conference and online webinars that are open to non-members.
Learn more: NLC.org
Practitioners and Professionals
American Institute of Architects
The AIA is a professional membership organization for architects and others (engineers, planners, landscape architects, etc.) who work in fields allied to architecture. The AIA has nearly 200 state and local chapters throughout the nation. The organization and chapters hosts conferences, workshops, trainings and online webinars. Some are open to non-members.
Learn more: AIA.org
American Planning Association
The American Planning Association is a professional membership organization for planners — but says the APA, “Whether you're an architect, engineer, project manager, or an interested citizen — if you have a desire to help planners or help your community, then APA is where you belong!” The organization hosts an annual national conference for planners, planning commissioners, appointed and elected officials, and students for sessions, workshops, and networking. Many events and online courses are open to non-members.
Learn more: Planning.org
American Public Transportation Association
Commonly referred to as APTA, the American Public Transportation Association represents more than 1,500 public and private sector member organizations that operate public transportation systems, including bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne services, and intercity and high-speed passenger rail. Some APTA events are open to non-members.
Learn more: APTA.com
National Recreation and Parks Association
A professional organization for parks and recreation professionals, NRPA hosts events and courses nationwide for paying members. The events tab on its website includes links to local programs and groups.
Learn more: NRPA.org
Urban Land Institute
ULI brings leaders of the real estate and land use professions together to respond to community needs and share knowledge through research and media. The institute hosts courses and events, many of which non-members can join.
Learn more: ULI.org
News and More
The award-winning website for the AARP Livable Communities initiative — you’re on right now — is home to easy-to-use free publications and informative articles. The website is also the basis of the AARP Livable Communities newsletter, a weekly, free, subscriber-based e-newsletter through which we announce new resources, link to content from local and specialized news sources, and make announcements about upcoming events and grant programs by AARP and other organizations. (See the promotions below and in the right column to subscribe.)
Learn more: AARP.org/Livable
A news website about cities and communities, CityLab articles focus on urban design, transportation, the environment, equity and community life. Its "Solutions" hub features ideas and stories for an urbanizing world.
Learn more: CityLab.com
The target audiences for Governing are elected and appointed officials and other public leaders. Topics topics covered include artificial intelligence, privacy, big data, security, the future of work, urban planning, financial systems and more.
Learn more: Governing.com
A content originator and aggregator, Planetizen publishes news, commentaries and summaries and links to livability- and planning-related articles from local and other news sources. Featured resources include webinars, job listings, trainings and events hosted by organizations and municipalities throughout the county.
Learn more: Planetizen.com
Compiled by Saharla Afqarshe | Page published March 2020
The weekly, award-winning AARP Livable Communities e-Newsletter provides local leaders with information and inspiration for making their town, city or neighborhood more livable for older adults and people of all ages. Subscribe today!
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