Voice of the People Awards

The Voice of the People Awards (VOP) are the only awards given in local government based on the opinion of community residents and are conferred jointly by NRC and ICMA to communities that embody the spirit of The National Community Survey™ (The NCS™) and display commitment to best practices in moving their communities forward.

Award Winning Communities

Communities that have administered The National Community Survey in a given calendar year are eligible to participate in the VOP awards.

The awards for Excellence recognize communities that received the highest marks from residents in the previous year and are at the top of the cohort of The NCS participants. The awards for Transformation recognize communities that have seen significant increase in favorable ratings in resident responses over repeated administrations of The NCS. Awards are presented at the annual ICMA Conference.

Facets of Community Livability

The Voice of the People Awards are given for Excellence and Transformation in each “facet” of community livability as measured by The NCS. The facets of community livability were distilled from our synthesis of research on livability and include: Safety, Mobility, the Natural Environment, the Built Environment, the Economy, Recreation and Wellness, Education and Enrichment and Community Engagement. These facets reinforce the Foundations of Livability, which make a community a place where people want to live.


Protection from danger or risk (e.g., safety in neighborhood, safety in downtown/commercial area, police services, fire services, animal control, resident crime victims, emergency preparedness)


Accessibility of a community by motorized and non-motorized modes of transportation (e.g., ease of travel, traffic flow, ease of walking, availability of paths and walking trails)

Natural Environment

Resources and features native to a community (e.g., open space, water, air quality, cleanliness)

Built Environment

Design, construction, and management of the human-made space in which people live, work, and recreate on a daily basis, including the buildings, streetscapes, parks, etc. (e.g., housing options, overall quality of new development , land use, planning and zoning, code enforcement, sewer services, power utility)


Maintenance of a diverse economy (e.g., vibrant downtown, cost of living, economic development, shopping opportunities, employments opportunities)

Recreation and Wellness

Recreation, healthy lifestyles, preventative and curative healthcare, support services (e.g., fitness, opportunities, recreation centers, parks, health services)

Education and Enrichment

Learning and enrichment for children, youth, and adults (e.g., K-12 education, public libraries, cultural/arts/music activities, religious and or spiritual events/activities)

Community Engagement

Quality and frequency of social interactions (e.g., civic groups, volunteering, neighborliness, voting in local elections, contacting local elected officials, attending or watching public meetings, public information)

Foundations of Livability

Overall aspects that make a community a place where people want to live (e.g., overall quality of life, overall quality of services, sense of community, confidence in local government, welcoming citizen involvement)

Winning a Voice of the People Award brings positive publicity and recognition on a national scale, as well as the opportunity to join an elite community of winners sharing best practices and serving as a model for communities around the world.

Read More About Recent Award Winners