About Us

The Livability Index is a project of the AARP Public Policy Institute. 

The Public Policy Institute (PPI) informs and stimulates public debate on the issues we face as we age. The Institute promotes development of sound, creative policies to address our common need for economic security, health care, and quality of life.

The PPI Livable Communities & Long-Term Care Team develops and promotes policy solutions to help people retain their dignity and exercise choice as they age. We achieve this by building community features that promote engagement, developing services that help people maximize independence, and providing supports for family caregivers.

The development of the Livability Index is led by PPI's staff experts in city planning, housing, and transportation, with research, modeling, and tool development support from ICF International and the University of Utah’s Metropolitan Research Center. PPI also had guidance from an interdisciplinary technical advisory committee with expertise in both policy and data analysis across the range of subject areas evaluated by the Index, including public policy, city planning, public health, aging studies, environmental sciences, and econometrics.

The PPI Livability Index Core Team 

  • Jana Lynott, Senior Strategic Policy Advisor
    Jana Lynott, AICP, is project co-director of the Livability Index, overseeing the project budget, coordinating the work of many contributors, and ensuring a high-quality product. Along with Dr. Rodney Harrell, she developed the initial concept for the tool, one that looks at the needs of all members of the community and combines policies and metrics to estimate community livability now and into the future, as residents age. As a member of the core team, she is a key contributor to all facets of the project, including its concept, design, methodology, content, and outreach. Read more. Follow Jana @JanaLynott.
  • Rodney Harrell, PhD, Director, Livable Communities
    Dr. Rodney Harrell’s research on housing preferences, neighborhood choice, and community livability led to the development of the theoretical framework for the Index. Along with Jana Lynott, he developed the initial concept for a livability index that looks at the needs of all members of the community and combines policies and metrics to estimate community livability now and into the future, as residents age. He has been a contributor to several previous efforts to measure community livability, and is the lead on survey and other research related to the Livability Index’s design. As a member of the core team, he is a key contributor to all aspects of the Index, including its concept, design, methodology, content, and outreach. Read more. Follow Rodney @DrUrbanPolicy, Facebook.com/DrUrbanPolicy, on Google+ and on DrUrbanPolicy.com.
  • Shannon Guzman, Policy Research Senior Analyst
    As a member of the core team, Shannon Guzman’s planning and communications expertise contributes to all aspects of Index development, from survey research to the tool’s final design and functionality. Shannon’s major contributions include analysis of data from the community preference survey, research and selection of index metrics and policies, co-authoring Index-related research publications, and assisting in the conceptual designs of the Index website. Read more. Follow Shannon @SGuzman6.
  • Ari Houser, Quantitative Methods Advisor
    Ari Houser contributed his expertise to the scoring methods within the Index. He advised the Index team on technical details, including weighting, scaling, missing data, and metric reliability. Read more.
  • Brad Gudzinas, Senior Methods Advisor
    Brad Gudzinas, PMP, is project manager of the Livability Index, overseeing day-to-day operations and development efforts. With a focus on data-driven decision-making Brad's background in community planning and expertise in data science and project management ensures the Livability Index continues to serve the needs of its many users. Read more. Follow Brad @b_livability.


The Consultant Team

AARP hired ICF International, a global professional services consulting firm, to assist in the development of the Index. ICF’s technical experts and statisticians worked alongside AARP’s Public Policy Institute experts to evaluate metrics and policies for inclusion in the Index, and to develop the scoring algorithm. ICF’s Interactive unit designed the Index’s user interface, and then built the online tool and infrastructure. 

The University of Utah’s Metropolitan Research Center, led by Dr. Reid Ewing, developed statistical models for some of the Index’s metrics. MRC researchers and statisticians used representative datasets from areas of the country to model results for the entire United States for some of the transportation metrics used in the Index.


The  Technical Advisory Committee

  • Lynda Anderson, Director, Healthy Aging Program, CDC Healthy Aging Network
  • Nisha Botchwey, Associate Professor, City & Regional Planning, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Sarah Campbell, National Policy Director, Center for Neighborhood Technology 
  • Paula Carmody, People’s Counsel, Maryland Office of People’s Council
  • Sasha Forbes, Natural Resources Defense Council, Urban Solutions Program (formerly Senior Policy Associate, Reconnecting America)
  • Michael Fox, Research Science Officer, CDC Division of Human Development & Disability
  • Josh Geyer, Office of Economic Resilience, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Damon Jones, Assistant Professor, The Harris School of Public Policy, University of Chicago
  • Chris Kochtitzky, Associate Director for Program Development, CDC Division of Emergency & Environmental Health Services
  • Tracy Kolian, Acting Director, Center for Public Health Policy, American Public Health Association
  • Amanda Lehning, Assistant Professor, University of Maryland School of Social Work
  • Wilhelmina Leigh, Senior Research Associate, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
  • Jordana Maisel, Director of Outreach and Policy Studies, Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access, SUNY Buffalo
  • Sabrina McCormick, Associate Professor, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, The George Washington University
  • Margaret Neal, Director, Institute on Aging, Portland State University
  • Danielle Nelson, Federal Transit Administration (formerly with the U.S. Administration for Community Living) 
  • Andrea Peet, Program Manager, STAR Communities
  • Danilo Pelletiere, Economist, Policy Development and Research, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Anna Ricklin, Manager, Planning & Community Health Research Center, American Planning Association
  • Trevor Roycroft, Associate Professor, J. Warren McClure School, Ohio University
  • Stefanie Seskin, Deputy Director, National Complete Streets Coalition
  • Brian Smedley, Executive Director, National Collaborative for Health Equity
  • Phil Stafford, Director, Center on Aging and Community, Indiana Institute on Disability and Community
  • Kathy Sykes, Senior Advisor, Aging and Sustainability, EPA Office of Research and Development
  • Erwin Tan, Director of Senior Corps, Corporation for National and Community Service
  • John Thomas, Acting Director, EPA Office of Sustainable Communities
  • Hilari Varnadore, Director, STAR Communities
  • Kristi Wamstad-Evans, Technical Manager, STAR Communities
  • Mildred Warner, Professor, Department of City and Regional Planning, Cornell University

To provide feedback on the Livability Index, please email livabilityindex@aarp.org.


Photos on the Home page provided by: Dan Burden and Samantha Thomas