Since the 21st century, China's rural social and economic development and infrastructure construction have attained remarkable achievements, but the imbalance between urban and rural development and inadequate rural development are still prominent. In particular, the living environment closely related to rural life is still the short board of rural development. At the beginning of 2018, the central government issued the three-year action plan for rural living environment improvement (RLEI) to focus on improving the rural living environment, building a beautiful and livable village, and pursuing the Rural Revitalization Strategy. This paper analyzes the concept and connotation of RLEI, explains the mechanism of RLEI promoting rural revitalization, combs the mode and mechanism, effect and evaluation of RLEI, and discusses the key areas of strengthening the research of RLEI. The science of rural living environment has developed rapidly in the past 10 years, and has made remarkable progress in basic theory, evolution mechanism, quality evaluation, regulation and control strategy, especially in the research of basic theory, evolution mechanism and quality evaluation. However, there are still obvious deficiencies in the guidance and support of the current research for practice, and there are still some misunderstandings in the practice of local specific RLEI. Facing the strategic needs of rural revitalization, we need to form "eight consensus" in the understanding and practice of RLEI in the new era. In terms of research, we should strengthen the intersection and integration of rural geography and engineering technology science, urban and rural planning science, management science, sociology, etc., and strive to form a systematic research system integrating theoretical research, technological development, mechanism analysis, effectiveness evaluation, and model optimization, which can better support the improvement of rural living environment and realize the function and value enhancement of rural areas, and then effectively contribute to the Rural Revitalization Strategy.