Houston Health Department
What is Livability?
Livability is a concept that is about achieving the best community possible by recognizing a unique identity and placing a high value on the planning processes that help manage growth and change to maintain and enhance community character. This term is the sum of the factors that add up to a community’s quality of life that include the built and natural environments, economic prosperity, social stability and equity, educational opportunity, and cultural, entertainment and recreation possibilities. Livability is about making a community that is suitable for human living on a daily basis.
This theory is about tying the quality and location of transportation facilities to broader opportunities such as access to good jobs, affordable housing, quality schools, and safe streets. This includes addressing safety and capacity issues on all roads through better planning and design and maximizing and expanding on new technologies. Below are some useful articles that illustrate the benefits of increasing livability in communities.
Benefits of Livability- http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/livability/fact_sheets/benefits.pdf
The United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration published this fact sheet about the benefits of livability. It highlights making people healthier as well as boosting the economy. A snapshot of livability is shown with two success stories to conclude.
Transportation and Health- http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/livability/fact_sheets/transandhealth.pdf
Another fact sheet provided by the United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration pronounces the importance of the connection between transportation and health. It describes how increasing walking and biking can vastly improve your health and improve communities.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency formed the Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities to help communities develop in more environmentally and economically sustainable ways. This agency was able to develop six livability principles to help guide their work. They are as follows:
- Provide more transportation choices
- Promote equitable, affordable housing
- Enhance economic competitiveness
- Support existing communities
- Coordinate and leverage federal policies and investment
- Value communities and neighborhoods
By establishing these six principles they have provided the framework for sustaining livability in communities across the country. More info about each of the livability principles can be found here.
Livability and the City of Houston/Harris County
The ultimate goal of the CTI in Houston/Harris County is to achieve livability by having the best community. In this effort we have developed our own principles that we hope to attain. The principles are as follows:
- The easy choices should be healthy choices
- The connection between livability and health
- A well-planned and livable community provides opportunities for healthy and active living
- An active and efficient transportation and transit system is essential to a healthy and vibrant community
- Investing in a livable and healthy Houston is the right economic choice
- Healthy and active living can be promoted in all policies and planning decisions
- Working together, we can transform Houston/Harris County into a more livable and healthy community
Livability at Work
Currently there is an initiative that is being recommended to make Washington Ave more livable. The project has suggested livability principles and ways to apply them. Click on the link below to learn more about this innovative project.
Washington Ave Livability Centers
Washington Ave Livability Principles