Enhance Living and Working Environments

The Vision

The places where we live and work powerfully contribute to the quality of life in our communities: our homes, the spaces where we make a living and the manner in which we get where we need to go.

Living in the NRV has become less affordable over the years. Average affordability for both renter and owner-occupied housing has been declining across the whole NRV – particularly near the universities and the region’s major job centers. Rising energy prices have also impacted overall housing affordability especially for those living in older, less energy efficient homes. As gasoline prices rise, many of the region’s rural residents are beginning to really struggle with the cost of getting to and from work. On top of all that, the population is aging and it is difficult for older residents to age at home if they do not have houses that are adapted to their changing needs. This is a particular challenge in rural localities lacking adequate public support services for those who want to age in place.


In the future, residents would like to see an increase in the energy efficiency of new and older building stock, an expansion of alternative and renewable energy sources and creation of more transportation and commuting options throughout the NRV. They want plenty of housing choices that serve a wide range of incomes, ages and preferences. Where possible, the majority of new housing development should be focused in existing towns and employment centers to take advantage of existing infrastructure, save on costs of services, cut down on commute times and preserve rural landscapes and character. Both new and older homes can move towards higher levels of energy efficiency, allowing people to stretch their finances further.

Residents also want to maintain the ability to be self-reliant in their homes. Aging in place can be made possible through retrofits of existing homes and new housing built to accommodate the needs of an older population. There is also a need to provide adequate systems of transportation to ensure mobility and access to medical care and shopping among the elderly

About Us

The Livability Initiative provides an opportunity for New River Valley residents to develop a vision for the future, and develop strategies that businesses, community organizations, local governments, and individuals can use to make this future vision a reality.


Jessica Wirgau, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Community Foundation of the New River Valley
(540) 381-8999

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