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VA Communities Among Winners on New AARP Online Tool Listing Most Livable Places

PHOTO: Arlington did well when measured by a new online interactive livability index set up by AARP. Photo courtesy of Flicker and Arlington County.
PHOTO: Arlington did well when measured by a new online interactive livability index set up by AARP. Photo courtesy of Flicker and Arlington County.
April 24, 2015

RICHMOND, Va. - A new livability index rates Arlington and four other Virginia communities as good places to "stay healthy, get around and enjoy life."

AARP's new interactive online tool compares locations for housing, transportation, neighborhood services, health and the environment. It also considers economic opportunity and social and civic engagement.

Arlington came in sixth among the most livable medium-sized cities. Mary Hynes, who chairs the Arlington County Board, said Arlington did well because it's a small place with a comfortable mix of urban and suburban.

"We score really well on transportation. We score really well on access to all kinds of services, 'cause we're pretty small," she said. "And this city living at a slightly slower pace has appealed to people of all ages."

AARP said the livability index can be used to see if a particular location would be good place to retire, and that people of any age could use it to compare one neighborhood or community with another.

Hynes said Arlington doesn't have all of a big city's traffic or hassles, but it's still just a subway ride from Washington. She said she and her husband can go for days without driving.

"My husband and I live a block from one of the Metro stops," she said. "We can walk to three grocery stores, five banks. It's really possible to live a pretty pleasant life here and yet have an incredible access to Washington, D.C."

Blacksburg also made the list for being easy to get around. Charlottesville, Fredericksburg and Richmond all did well for the entertainment they offer; they all made the list for best places for a date night.

Bri Warner, director of sales and marketing for the Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau, said Charlottesville's wide variety of cultural activities helped it score high.

"There is always something going on," she said, "between all the festivals, the museum, sporting events, live music in so many different places around town."

The website is at livabilityindex.aarp.org and more information is at aarp.org/mostlivable2015.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - VA