The Big Change in Public School Classrooms This Fall

As kids head back to schools this fall, they likely won’t notice that their classrooms reached an important tipping point this year. According to the U.S. Department of Education, our nation’s public schools are projected to be majority-minority as of this school year. That means white students will not be the majority for the first […]

How Our Streets Can Make Us Healthier

I was struck by this quote in a new paper by Wesley E. Marshall et al. from the University of Colorado Denver’s Department of Civil Engineering: “It might not be common for people to explicitly contemplate health when selecting a place to live.” At Livability, it’s one of the eight characteristics we measure for our […]

How the Livability Sausage is Made in Oak Park, Ill.

The trolls came out at 8:25 p.m. That fact alone wasn’t surprising. I was at a public hearing of the Village of Oak Park Planning Commission to discuss the draft of its new comprehensive plan. I expected a parade of CAVEs (Citizens Against Virtually Everything) once the presentations by the village and its consultant were […]

Livability On the Other Side of the Tracks

This image, floating around various blogs, shows Florence Italy and a highway interchange in Atlanta at the same scale. Where would you rather live?

This is a post about transportation, but first we have to talk about homicide. As a Chicagoan, I get asked about the murder rate here pretty often. The first thing I say is that it’s really not as bad as you might think from reading the Tribune or Sun-Times. Which isn’t to say it isn’t […]

Putting the “Class” in “Creative Class”

Richard Florida addresses the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, 2013.

One question Livability often gets is: How can I get my city on your Best Places to Live list? We’ve given some suggestions from time to time, but say you want to put some ideas into practice and you don’t know where to start. I now have a really good answer for you: Take these […]

What We Can (And Can’t) Learn From Pharell About Creating Happy Cites

Can Listening to 'Happy' make us and our cities Happy?

I recently attended the “Doable Cities Forum” in Chicago. One of the speakers was Charles Montgomery, author of The Happy City. The book is a great guide to the research and practice of creating cities that are not only livable, but will also improve the lives of people who live there by allowing them the freedom […]

Why Gen X is to Thank for the Urban Baby Boom

Gen-Xers fueling the urban baby boom. Photo: Skeddy in NYC/Flickr

  Cities are having a baby boom, according to Trulia’s Jed Kolko’s analysis of recent Census data. Some seem surprised by this. Some are quick to say it represents a huge shift in behavior. Imagine, cities with children in them! Sure, it’s a big deal. But it’s also not surprising and not necessarily going to […]

The Growing Role of Livability in City Conversations

Skokie Village mayor, George Van Dusen and developer John McLinden pose before the groundbreaking at the Floral Ave. development

It’s a great time to care about cities because it seems as if cities are caring more and more about themselves. By that I mean that livability (small ‘l’) is entering into conversations in cities of all sizes. Here are some quick examples. I was invited to give a talk to the Downtown Committee in […]