Livability is a general concept based on people's response to the question, "Do you like living here or would you rather live elsewhere?"
Crime, pollution, economic costs, and opportunities for recreation, employment and culture, factor into livability. Moving away from urban blight into sustainable cites and communities requires education, planning and action.
Livable cities are accessible by automobiles, have a high population density, preserve similar residences, businesses and shops, and have areas that people can walk to, meet and conduct business informally such as cafes or open spaces.
The city of Curitiba, Brazil stands out from other new cities because of its environmentally sustainable design with mass transit to discourage sprawl and congestion, as well as walkable areas, shady parks and green spaces for its 1.6 million residents.
Decreased auto traffic reduces energy consumption and pollution. Energy consumption is also more effective when there is less urban sprawl.
In 1992, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) started the Commission on Sustainable Development. 106 countries are on track to become sustainable.
In the United States, the Sustainable Communities and Development program offers guidelines, information and grants.
The city of Chattanooga, TN is a prime example of a success story as it went from being the dirtiest city in America to being considered one of the best places to live. This was a result of implementing changes recommended by the EPA and having $800 million invested by the government, private businesses, and lenders to limit and prevent pollution, clean up the river, build walkable areas and set standards for pollution.