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. PPI promotes development of sound, creative policies to address our common need for economic security, health care, and quality of life.

PPI's Livable Communities & Long-Term Services and Supports team develops and promotes policy solutions that empower individuals and their families to thrive in their homes and communities.

The Livability Index is led by PPI's staff experts in city planning, housing, transportation, and research methods. 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 

  • Rodney Harrell, PhD, Project Co-Director/Director, Livability Thought Leadership
    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, and on DrUrbanPolicy.com.
  • Jana Lynott, AICP, Project Co-Director/Senior Strategic Policy Advisor
    Jana Lynott is project co-director of the Livability Index and formerly its project manager.  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.
  • Brad Gudzinas, PMP, AICP, Project Manager/Senior Methods Advisor
    Brad Gudzinas 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.
  • Shannon Guzman, MA, MCP, 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, MA, 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


The  Technical Advisory Committee

The following individuals served on the project Technical Advisory Committee at various points in the development and update of the Livability Index. 

  • Lynda Anderson, Director, Healthy Aging Program, CDC Healthy Aging Network (retired)
  • Emiko Atherton, Director, National Complete Streets Coalition
  • Wesley Blount, FHWA Office of Planning, US Department of Transportation
  • Nisha Botchwey, Associate Professor, City & Regional Planning, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Sarah Campbell, (formerly) National Policy Director, Center for Neighborhood Technology 
  • Paula Carmody, People’s Counsel, Maryland Office of People’s Council
  • Derald Dudley, Lead, National Transit Map, US Department of Transportation
  • Richard Duncan, Executive Director, RL Mace Design Institute
  • Rusty Ennemoser, Public Involvement Coordinator, Florida Department of Transportation
  • 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 (retired)
  • 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, Senior Advisor, CDC Physical Activity and Health Branch, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
  • 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 (retired)
  • 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, Rural and Targeted Programs, Federal Transit Administration (formerly with the U.S. Administration for Community Living) 
  • Andrea Peet, Program Manager, STAR Communities
  • Danilo Pelletiere, Housing Development Advisor, DC Department of Housing & Community Development
  • Jeremy Raw, Community Planner, FHWA Office of Planning
  • Anna Ricklin, Manager, Planning & Community Health Center, American Planning Association
  • Trevor Roycroft, Associate Professor, J. Warren McClure School, Ohio University
  • Stefanie Seskin, (formerly) 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
  • Mathew Streeter, American Housing Survey Manager, US Census
  • Kathy Sykes, Senior Advisor, Aging and Sustainability, EPA Office of Research and Development (retired)
  • Erwin Tan, (formerly) Director of Senior Corps, Corporation for National and Community Service
  • John Thomas, Acting Associate Office Director, EPA Office of Sustainable Communities
  • Matt Trujillo, Program Manager, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • Hilari Varnadore, Director, STAR Communities
  • Kristi Wamstad-Evans, Technical Manager, STAR Communities
  • Mildred Warner, Professor, Department of City and Regional Planning, Cornell University

Contact us with questions and comments

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