Quality of Life

Red antique stoplight in the middle of wide intersection flanked by brick buildings in downtown rural Toledo, Iowa

Iowa Towns Embrace a ‘Shrink Smart’ Approach

Population loss doesn’t have to be a harbinger of doom. Some rural communities are taking small but impactful steps to improve quality of life for their remaining residents.

August 23, 2023 - The Gazette

Mexico City from the air

A Compact, Connected, Clean, and Inclusive Recovery for Mexico

As the Mexican government charts the country’s recovery from COVID-19, a newly published paper charts national solutions to urban transportation and housing challenges that will put Mexico’s cities on a path to prosperity and resilience.

March 9, 2021 - Compact Connected Clean and Inclusive Cities in Mexico

Urban Symmetry

The Surprisingly Important Role of Symmetry in Healthy Places

New research suggests there might be a "symmetry deficit disorder" in today's built environments, with significant impacts on health, well-being, and even sustainability.

March 8, 2021 - Michael Mehaffy

Senior Pedestrians

Insights From the Latest Livability Index

The latest edition of the AARP Livability Index reveals the U.S. regions with more of the kinds of neighborhoods that offer quality of life benefits for residents of all ages.

December 9, 2020 - Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University

Toronto Subway

As Canada Grows, Transit a Key Component of Success

The population in Canada will increase substantially in the future, and transit planning is crucial to ensuring that cities thrive.

January 9, 2020 - The Globe and Mail

Green Buildings

Building Green for Quality of Life Improvements

The quality of life or residents might be the best way to measure the benefits of green building programs, according to the president and CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council.

November 30, 2019 - Smart Cities Dive

Times Square New York

Urban and Suburban Lifestyles More Similar Than Thought, Study Says

The differences in the ways people who live in the city spend their time versus the way people who live in suburbs spend their time are few and small.

November 5, 2019 - CityLab

Senior Mobility

Report: Urban Planning and Design Neglecting the Needs of Seniors

Many cities aren't planning and designing for their aging residents, despite a world full of examples to model from, according to a new report from the Milliken Institute.

October 30, 2019 - Smart Cities Dive


As Cities Densify, New Building Design Strategies Keep Them Livable

Cities need to increase density, but the design of buildings can drastically affect people’s quality of life. Architects are using new tactics and tools to create innovative structures where light, air, and space are not compromised.

August 19, 2019 - Fast Company


The Problem With All Those 'Livability' Rankings

Why is it that smallish cities in western Europe always score so well? Perhaps the underlying assumptions behind ostensibly data-driven "livability" rankings cater to a certain audience and leave most of us out.

July 3, 2019 - CityLab


5 Exemplary Urban Transformation Case Studies

The finalists from the WRI Ross Prize for Cities have been announced.

December 19, 2018 - The City Fix

New York City Restaurant

The U.S. Cities With the Most Restaurants Per Capita

Metropolitan areas with many options for places to eat offers many quality of life benefits to residents.

December 17, 2018 - City Observatory

Toronto Streetcar

Survey Finds High Levels of 'Social Capital' in Toronto

The first comprehensive look at social capital in a Canadian city reveals lessons for planners and more about what connects citizens to their communities.

November 7, 2018 - The Star


Report: Cleveland and Akron Showing Strength in the Heartland

While much of the news focuses on declining population and vacant homes, Cleveland and Akron have quietly outperformed many other cities on quality of life.

October 21, 2018 - Crain's Cleveland Business

Manhattan, New York City

Report: Location-Based Rent Premiums Are a Good Investment

If the rent is too damn high, it might still be a good investment.

August 30, 2018 - CityLab


Honolulu, Pittsburgh Lead the U.S. in Livability

Honolulu and Pittsburgh have made a cottage industry of leading the United States on the quality of life index produced by The Economist.

August 20, 2018 - The Economist Intelligence Unit

Seair coastal passenger plane

As Canadian Cities Grow, Survey Finds Happiest Canadians are in Smaller Communities

The happiest people in Canada, according to a survey of life satisfaction, tend to live in significantly less dense communities than the least happy.

June 12, 2018 - Daily Hive


All Communities Must Address the 'Housing Crisis for Seniors'

A call to action to change the paradigm of planning and development to better serve an aging nation.

January 30, 2017 - The New York Times

Third Space

Third Space First

The quickly growing number of third spaces is good news for both the social and the urban fabrics.

January 10, 2017 - Erling Fossen

Charlotte, North Carolina

Study: Bad Arterials Poison Good Residential Streets

It's something we feel intuitively: poorly-designed arterial roads make for less comfortable neighborhoods. That remains the case even if the adjoining residential streets are quiet and safe.

August 23, 2016 - Streetsblog USA

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HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

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Chaddick Institute at DePaul University

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Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

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Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.