Promoting livability in local planning is a relatively new concept that incorporates principles such as expanded transportation choices, affordable housing, economic opportunities, and revitalized communities. While early research and initiatives focused on urban areas, the same principles are now being adapted and applied to improve the quality of life in rural areas.
The Small Urban and Rural Livability Center (SURLC) is a University Transportation Center, formed in 2013, that advances transportation-related livability in small towns and rural areas. SURLC’s work is clarifying what “livability” means to rural residents and identifying transportation options. Perhaps more importantly, SURLC is developing tools and recommendations that rural areas and small towns can use to plan for and implement changes that can make a difference.