Creating a system that ensures livability for all people who live, work, and play in Muskegon County

On February 7, 2023, more than 160 people attended the Livability Lab 100-Day Challenge Celebration to learn about and show appreciation for the work of 15 Community Action Teams. 

These teams, made up of volunteers who attended the Livability Lab 3.0 kickoff in October 2022, had been challenged to make a positive impact on community-identified issues in the Muskegon area in just 100 days. 


Livability means the sum of things that add up to quality of life

Action Teams focused their efforts on 5 Livability Elements, identified as priorities by the community

Economic Opportunity

LIVABILITY GOAL: Residents are prosperous and financially stable


LIVABILITY GOAL: Residents are experiencing holistic health and wellbeing

Safety & Security

LIVABILITY GOAL: Residents feel safe & secure at all times


LIVABILITY GOAL: Residents have the knowledge and skills to thrive

Social Connection & Trust

LIVABILITY GOAL: Residents have relationships that demonstrate a sense of belonging, loyalty, trust & responsibility

Our Unique Approach to Change

How Muskegon County used the 100-Day Challenge model to create Livability Lab

Innovative & Action-Oriented

The 100-Day Challenge is a model for community change that seeks to inspire collective action toward a common vision.

This approach places the focus on smaller 'wins' that contribute to a larger impact.

Through this process, teams form around specific issues and take 100 days to work toward achieving ambitious and concrete results.

Community-Driven &
Data Informed

The 100-Day Challenge process is a community-led model, which means it is based on the idea that people are the experts on their own lives.

Through one-on-one interviews, focus groups, resident surveys, and data from local groups, the Livability Lab design team learned what Muskegon County residents consider to be the most significant challenges in their lives, and what changes could make biggest impact in the community.

Cross-Sector & Collaborative

This model has been used in other areas to tackle one specific sector or issue. But based on resident data and feedback, a broader vision for Muskegon's 100-Day Challenge came into focus.

It became clear that the best way to make an impact in Muskegon County was for people from a variety of sectors -- including business, neighborhoods, healthcare, and education -- to come together to improve "livability" for residents.

The Framework

Community Goals & Data for Achieving the Vision

The 2022 Livability Lab framework was developed through more than 450 resident surveys (including 50 Spanish-language surveys.) The visual representation shows how the pieces are interconnected.

Livability Elements (in the light blue circle) represent what people need to thrive and prosper in Muskegon County.

Community Conditions (each in its own orange circle) represent what needs to be in place across the county to promote the livability elements and achieve the Vision (shown in the dark blue center circle).

To learn more and get details about the elements, community conditions, and related data, download the Livability Lab 3.0 Framework & Data booklet.

  • Navigate the PDF document by clicking on an element or condition in the framework graphic to access data specific to that area.
  • Click on the Livability Lab logo at any time to return to the graphic 

Community Action Teams

GOAL: To create a business ambassador program to help entrepreneurs of color connect with area resources

To better understand the level of medical debt of residents in Muskegon County: the causes, how it can be avoided, and what resources are available and needed

To implement the Parent Village concept in Muskegon to provide additional support for parents in our community

To design a strategy that engages Muskegon Heights residents in local government using the Citizen’s Academy training model that offers a place for residents to gather and learn about decision-making

To build upon current readiness supports at Muskegon Heights Public School Academy (MHPSA) and to link school to existing career readiness programs in the community

To recruit volunteers and workers for schools, childcare centers, and direct support positions

To address isolation, strengthen social connections, and to encourage people to get out into their community, meet their neighbors, and discover what Muskegon has to offer

To urge local representatives to support legislation allowing Michigan residents to obtain a driver’s license without proof of citizenship; to recruit allies and raise awareness about the importance of Drivers’ Licenses for All

To bring students together for  Livability Lab-type event where they can identify problems in their schools and / or communities and then develop action plans to address them

To create a one-stop-shop resource for our community that simplified the process for those seeking rental housing

To convene two Coming Together for Racial Understanding (CTRU) training sessions made up of diverse groups from the larger Livability Lab participant group

To build a network of Climate Change ambassadors and to launch our strategy in the community

To design a plan to create educational & ecological learning greenspaces; connect with residents, local groups and government entities; form a coalition of stakeholders dedicated to this goal

To reduce health disparities by improving birth outcomes in populations of color through coordinated doula access and culturally competent care

To design an event to engage minorities in our community to have a voice alongside decision-makers

An Audacious Vision for Muskegon County

Background & History

Muskegon’s first Livability Lab convened in 2019. These resources are available for more detailed information about the process, history, data and reports: