Quantifying Livability Nationwide

Olson Digital collaborated cross-platform to develop a ground-breaking new tool that seamlessly integrated search, multiple data points, user-friendly design, and geographic services. AARP's Livability Index is at the forefront of policy debate.

The challenge

AARP’s Public Policy Institute wanted to provide a resource for policy makers and consumers to drive change in their communities. So, they partnered with ICF Olson to develop the first tool of its kind to measure livability nationwide across multiple categories – all the way down to the neighborhood level.

The Livability Index measures the quality of life in cities and towns across the United States. The initiative required an innovative system architecture, content development and management solutions, powerful search and cross-metric functionality to surface over 60 data points, a user-friendly, easy-to-navigate design, and geolocation capabilities.


The solution

To achieve AARP’s goals, ICF Olson architected a customized technology platform including Drupal, Esri, and Adobe Experience Manager (AEM), built the index on a foundation of public datasets and metrics researched by teams of cross-functional experts from ICF and AARP, advised AARP on which policies to include and developed a statistical formula to calculate scores for locations nationwide.

AARP now uses the Livability Index as a catalyst to help spark policy changes around issues such as smart growth, housing accessibility, and community amenities, among many others.


About AARP

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 37 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment security and retirement planning. AARP strives to make communities more livable for all Americans by influencing public policy at state and local levels, but improvement requires measurement. That’s why AARP teamed with ICF Olson to develop the nation’s first interactive tool for comparing livability in different communities.