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30 Most Livable Cities

By AARP Bulletin | April 14, 2015 |

Livable cities are made, not born. In a variety of ways, these 30 places are showing how localities can serve citizens of all ages. We’ve grouped the cities by size — because if Bismarck, N.D., is your ideal, San Francisco probably isn’t, and vice versa. Not every city is incorporated. But each has a strong blend of characteristics that make it stand out across all 60 of our livability indicators.

Small (population 25K-100K)

1. La Crosse, Wis. Grand River Station in downtown offers apartments customized for artists and entrepreneurs, retail space and a hub for the city’s bus system.

2. Fitchburg, Wis. A round-trip ride to the senior center costs only $1, and the rider sets the cost for a trip to a medical appointment.

3. Bismarck, N.D. Residents over 60 or with disabilities are eligible for door-to-door bus service.

4. Sun Prairie, Wis. Liberty Square and Cannery Square show the city’s commitment to communities with easy walking and mixed uses.

5. Duluth, Minn. A recent report by the American Lung Association ranked the city among the top 10 in America for cleanest air.

6. Union City, N.J. Cuban political émigrés earned the city the nickname “Havana on the Hudson.”

7. Grand Island, Neb. The OpenData initiative makes the city’s budget process more transparent.

8. Kirkland, Wash. The city’s “complete streets” — safe for walkers, bikers and drivers of all ages — are models for many communities.

9. Marion, Iowa The vibrant Uptown Marion neighborhood is experiencing a burst of mixed-use development.

10. West Bend, Wis. Public works of art punctuate the Riverwalk, which snakes three miles through downtown along the Milwaukee River.

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