Best Places to Live Advisory Board

Best places to live: Advisory board

The LivScore for each city is a composite of more than 40 data points. Those data points were grouped into the eight categories below. The methodology gives an overview of how we calculated the score. But why did we focus on demographics, amenities, education and others? How do they actually influence livability? How can transportation make a city a best place to live? Read these stories for a more detailed discussion.

Bridget B. Catlin

Bridget directs the Mobilizing Action Toward Community Health (MATCH) group in the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI) in Madison, Wis. Since joining UWPHI in 2005, her work has focused on research and development to support community health improvement. She is the Director of the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Randy Cohen

Randy Cohen is Vice President of Research and Policy at Americans for the Arts, the nation's advocacy organization for the arts. Cohen is an expert in the fields of arts funding, research, policy and using the arts to address community development issues. He publishes The National Arts Index, the annual measure of the health and vitality of arts, as well as the two premier economic studies of the arts industry – Arts & Economic Prosperity and Creative Industries.

Ellen Dunham-Jones

Ellen Dunham-Jones is a professor of architecture and urban design at the Georgia Institute of Technology. As co-author with June Williamson of Retrofitting Suburbia; Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs (Wiley & Sons, 2009) her work has received significant media attention in The New York TimesHarvard Business Review and other venues.

Peter Haas

Peter Haas is Chief Research Scientist at the Center for Neighborhood Technology, a 34-year-old Chicago-based think-and-do tank that works nationally to advance urban sustainability. Haas joined CNT in 1994 and co-leads a staff of six who provide the technical, geographical and analytic underpinnings for all of CNT’s work. Haas and his team have revolutionized the geographic analysis of social, environmental and economic data to produce groundbreaking tools for measuring sustainability in urban areas.

Selma Hess

Selma Hess is Trulia’s Chief Economist. Previously, she was a senior economist at the California Association of REALTORS® and as an economist and manager of public policy and homeownership at the National Association of REALTORS®. She has also worked as a research associate at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education. Currently, Selma collaborates with the University of Southern California’s Lusk Center for Real Estate and the REALTOR® University Center for Real Estate Studies. 

Rodney Harrell

Rodney Harrell is the Senior Strategic Policy Advisor – Housing, Livable Communities at AARP’s Public Policy Institute. Harrell is responsible for AARP's policy development on housing and related livable communities issues, managing the housing research agenda, conducting independent research, and making public appearances. He is a prolific writer and maintains his own blog atwww.drurbanpolicy.com.

Joel Kotkin

Joel Kotkin is the Distinguished Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University in Orange, Calif.; a contributing editor to the City Journal in New York; a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Civil Service College in Singapore; and a Fellow at the National Chamber Foundation. He latest book is The New Class Conflict. He is also the author of The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050. Kotkin is a highly respected speaker and futurist, and he consults for many leading economic development organizations, private companies, regions and cities.

Christopher Leinberger

Christopher Leinberger is a land-use strategist, teacher, developer, researcher and author, who balances business realities with social and environmental concerns. Leinberger is President of Locus: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors; The Charles Bendit Distinguished Scholar and Research Professor, George Washington University School of Business; Nonresident Senior Fellow at Brookings Institution in Washington D.C.; and Founding Partner of Arcadia Land Company, a New Urbanism and transit-oriented development firm.

Kathryn Pettit

Kathryn L.S. Pettit is a Senior Research Associate in the Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center at the Urban Institute whose work focuses on measuring and understanding neighborhood change. She serves as the co-director of the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership, a collaborative effort by the Urban Institute and local partners to further the development and use of neighborhood-level information systems in local policymaking and community building.

James Rojas

James Rojas is a city and transportation planner based in Los Angeles. Rojas is the founder of Place It! and the Latino Urban Forum, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing awareness of planning and design issues facing low-income Latinos. He has written and lectured extensively about how culture and immigration are transforming the American front yard and landscape, and through Place It!, organizes on-site model installations and interactive workshops designed to increase public participation in and understanding of the planning process. He holds an M.A. in city planning and an M.S.

Emily Talen

Emily Talen is a professor in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning and Director of the Phoenix Urban Research Lab at Arizona State University. She is also co-editor of the Journal of Urbanism. Talen's research focuses on exploring the spatial patterns of American cities. Most often, this work incorporates GIS as a tool of exploration – for example, in the investigation of accessibility, spatial equity, sprawl and ideal urban form.

Jeff Speck

Jeff Speck is a city planner and architectural designer who advocates internationally for smart growth and sustainable design. As Director of Design at the National Endowment for the Arts from 2003 through 2007, he oversaw the Mayors' Institute on City Design and created the Governors' Institute on Community Design, a federal program that helps state governors fight suburban sprawl. Previously, Speck was Director of Town Planning at Duany Plater-Zyberk and Co., a leading practitioner of the New Urbanism.

Kevin Stolarick

Dubbed the “Official Statistician of the Creative Class,” Dr. Stolarick combines expertise on cities, urbanization, statistics, data and economic development with an appreciation of the importance of finding and sharing the knowledge or “pearls of wisdom” gained from leveraging his research, writing, management and organizational skills. He was the founding Research Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management and the inaugural Walton Distinguished Visiting Fellow in Sustainability, Arizona State University.

Lynn Wombold

Lynn Wombold is the chief demographer at Esri where she manages the development of unique databases such as demographic updates; consumer spending; Retail MarketPlace; and the Tapestry market segmentation system, the processing of decennial census data and the American Community Survey and the acquisition and integration of third-party data. She is also responsible for custom analysis and modeling projects. She has more than 35 years of experience in population estimates and projections, state and local demography, census data, survey research and consumer data. Ms.

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