Community and Quality of Life

Data Needs for Informed Decision Making

By Committee on Identifying Data Needs for Place-Based Decision Making, Committee on Geography, National Research Council


''Quality of life''...''livability''...''sense of place.'' Communities across America are striving to define these terms and to bring them to life, as they make decisions about transportation systems and other aspects of planning and development. ''Community and Quality of Life'' discusses important concepts that undergird community life and offers recommendations for collaborative planning across space and time. The book explores livability as an ensemble concept, embracing notions such as quality of place and sustainability. It discusses how to measure the ''three legs'' of livability (social, economic, ecological) while accounting for politics and personal values.And the book examines how to translate broad ideas about livability into guidelines for policymaking. It explores place as more than location, including the natural, human-built, and social environments. The book discusses the impact of population changes over time, the links between regional and local identity, and other issues. It provides tools for decision making in transportation and community planning. It reviews a variety of decision models and tools such as geographic information systems (GIS) - as well as public and private sources of relevant data. Including several case examples, this book will be important to planners, planning decision makers, planning educators and students, social scientists, community activists, and interested individuals.

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