The three were recognized at the 2012 Smart Growth Summit Nov. 27.
“Livable communities are places where you can live throughout your lifetime. As people age, they desire to remain in their own homes and communities,” said Nancy McPherson, Louisiana State Director, AARP. “These projects promote accessibility, mobility, sustainability and community engagement from inception to implementation. Each award winner took great risk to implement their vision. They successfully reduced barriers to aging in place and embraced innovative concepts.”
The annual awards program recognizes communities and community leaders who have pioneered new methods in planning, design, construction services and programs that make it possible to live in a community throughout a lifetime.
“Vibrant places spring forth from engaged residents. Each of these three winners tells a powerful story of civic engagement to advance the vision of the community. It’s inspiring to see the commitment and dedication of these award winners in making their communities livable for all ages,” said Elizabeth “Boo” Thomas, President and CEO, Center for Planning Excellence.
The judges’ panel was comprised of seven professionals from a variety of fields who closely evaluated each nomination using specific criteria that defines a livable community or community program. Judges critiqued the applicants’ affordability, accessibility, connectivity, sustainability, community engagement, walkability, public transit and successful implementation among other measures.
“Each award winner took great care to balance the needs of the community and advance innovative concepts while upholding the rich history that makes Louisiana unique. Great places are much more than a travel destination. They are places with the supports and services you need to live in your communities for a lifetime,” said Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne.
Each Great Place award winner received $1,500 and was honored at an awards reception at the Smart Growth Summit, a program of the Center for Planning Excellence.
The 2012 Great Places in Louisiana awards program is sponsored by Amedisys, Care Innovations and the Louisiana Chapter of the American Planning Association.
Bike Easy: New Orleans Complete Streets Ordinance (www.bikeeasy.org)
• Bike Easy works to make bicycling fun, safe and easy in Greater New Orleans.
• Bike Easy advocates for improved infrastructure that accommodates safe, convenient bicycle and pedestrian movement in the Greater New Orleans region.
• Bike Easy led a coalition of diverse stakeholders to pass the Complete Streets ordinance in New Orleans, the first ordinance adopted by any municipality in Louisiana.
• Judges note that Bike Easy and its coalition of advocates have created strategic interventions that provide people of all ages with an important option to the car.
• “Collaboration is clearly the key to the success of Bike Easy and is essential to making any community a great place.”
Downtown Houma (www.houmamainstreet.org)
• The Houma Downtown Development Corporation (HDDC) has worked with community leaders and residents to revitalize a downtown Marina, create a scenic walkway along Bayou Terrebonne, and launch a farmer’s market.
• The Terrebonne Folklife Cultural Center, Terrebonne Waterlife Museum and Main Street Memorial Park preserves and promotes the rich culture and traditions of the Houma area.
• Judges note that the HDDC has put forth tremendous effort into rebuilding a community that supports people of all ages and abilities, including providing a range of housing options, connecting the transit terminal with services and supports, and improving the walkability of downtown.
• Judges state that “Houma demonstrates that it is possible to take a comprehensive approach to livability.”
NuNu Arts & Culture Collective (www.nunucollective.org)
• NuNu Arts and Culture Collective is a place where art and culture intersect with business and education, creating a vibrant incubator for creative entrepreneurs and a cultural, economic hub for the residents of Arnaudville.
• The Collective has expanded opportunities for community engagement, providing access to technology, instruction, mentoring and networking for creative entrepreneurs.
• Judges noted that the Collective provides the opportunities for engagement and support that people need throughout their lifetimes.
• Judges said that Arnaudville has shown how places small and large can invest in their people and culture for great returns. “It takes a lot to make a Great Place – but most importantly it takes great people.”
About the Award
The Great Places awards program is a joint initiative of AARP’s Livable Communities Council (LCC), the Center for Planning Excellence (CPEX) and the Lt. Governor’s office.
In 2008, the LCC was formed as a statewide coalition of planners, aging advocates, architects, designers and engineers to advance the development of livable communities throughout Louisiana. The Council is committed to disseminating research, guidelines and best practices, identifying and promoting examples of livable communities in Louisiana and advocating for federal, state and local policy that supports sustainable community design.
The Great Places in Louisiana award recognizes the communities and community leaders who have pioneered new methods in planning, design, construction, services and programs that make it possible to live in a community throughout a lifetime.
Livable communities are places where all people can live healthy and independent lives regardless of their age or ability.
The Great Places in Louisiana awards program is sponsored by Amedisys, Care Innovations and the Louisiana Chapter of the American Planning Association.