Matt Carmichael

Livability.com Author

Matt Carmichael

Matt Carmichael is the editor of Livability.com and author of Buyographics. He's a seasoned journalist who specializes in population trends and urban issues. Previously he was with Crain Communications where he served in a number of roles including the Senior director of research and data at Crain’s Chicago Business and Director of data strategy at Advertising Age. At Ad Age, he founded and edited the AdAgeStat blog focusing on research and analysis of demographic and consumer trends. He has been awarded top honors in journalism competitions for content, design and innovative uses of technology. His research has been cited by global media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic and the Guardian (U.K.). He is a Gen-X, white, non-Hispanic, Midwestern male who heads a household of five in Chicago.

The Key to a Happy Commute

A study came out of Canada last week reaffirming what a lot of urbanists believe: driving cars to work is a crappy way to commute and makes people unhappy. Further, walking, taking commuter rail and biking to work were the happiest forms of transportation. And no one likes to ride the bus. The study, lead […]

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 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”

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

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

  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 […]