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Communities' Livability Scored on New AARP Map

Portlanders have easy walking access to the amenities they need, ranking the city high on AARP's Livability Index. (AARP Oregon)
Portlanders have easy walking access to the amenities they need, ranking the city high on AARP's Livability Index. (AARP Oregon)
June 22, 2018

PORTLAND, Ore. – The AARP Public Policy Institute has launched a map that scores the livability of communities across the country. Folks can locate their neighborhoods and see how they're doing in terms of accessibility for people of all ages.

The Livability Index tallies up scores in seven different categories. Elaine Friesen-Strang, volunteer state president of AARP Oregon, says cities and towns around the state do well in some places, but lag in terms of housing.

"We do some things very well – that access to exercise and to walkability, and being engaged in our communities,” says Friesen-Strang. “Housing is something that we need to continue work on, both in terms of affordability and accessibility."

Friesen-Strang says communities across the country are struggling with sprawl in urban areas, which often makes it hard to walk to amenities like grocery stores or libraries. Other livability index measures include environment, health, transportation, inclusion and engagement.

Friesen-Strang says the index is a good resource for people who would like to get involved and help shape their cities and towns. Links to local and state policy measures are included on the map.

She says it could also be helpful for local leaders.

"It allows our planners, our public leaders, to look to see what we are doing in our communities, where we can make those improvements,” says Friesen-Strang. “And it helps in policy and in planning."

She notes Portland ranks in the top ten for big cities on this index. While there's room for improvement, she says the city scores high for walkability. Portland also gets high marks for being environmentally conscious and a healthy place to live. The map is online at 'livabilityindex.aarp.org.'

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR