The Snelling Center has been engaged by AARP-VT to explore what makes a community a livable one for an aging population and to design policy approaches that will move Burlington toward this goal as part of a national model-building initiative.

As part of this project, the Snelling Center worked with AARP-VT to convene a multi-stakeholder coalition and conducted a series of focused discussions with Burlington residents to advise the development of an action plan.

The Snelling Center report on the public engagement.

Livable Communities

In May 2007, AARP-VT released The Burlington Livable Community Project Report- A Great City for Older Adults- An Action Plan for Burlington which was produced by the Snelling Center.

Today, over 20 agencies and organizations remain committed to implementing the plan and ensuring that Burlington is a great community for residents young and old. For more information see the Burlington Livable Cities Project web site.

AARP Project Statement

As the people of Burlington age, will our community be ready? Burlington has repeatedly been cited as one of America’s most livable communities for children and families. But is it, or will it be, one of America’s most livable communities for people of all ages? Or looking at it another way, can residents of Burlington say, “this is a great place to grow old.”

There is no one formula for what makes a community livable but it has common elements, including affordable and appropriate housing, an array of options for mobility, and community services. Many of these elements exist to one degree or another in Burlington. However, Burlington lacks an explicit vision for how it will meet the needs of its aging population and make the city a truly livable community for all its residents.

We are not alone. Livability is seldom discussed until it has become obvious that a community doesn’t meet the needs of its aging population. The result too often is that older residents must move or live in homes that don’t meet their needs, and in communities that don’t support them.

When the conversation about livability does happen, it is often limited to topics of economic growth, or sprawl, or the allocation of scarce resources. And, while all of these elements are critical factors in the way a community grows, adapts to changing needs, and remains vibrant – there is much more to creating a “livable community.”

Livability is affordable housing options that enable individuals to remain in the communities to which they have long-term attachments. At the same time, good home design, founded on ease of use and accessibility, enables individuals to enjoy the full use of their residence.

Current reports on the project include:

Other resources: