Monday, December 7, 2009

Smart Strategies for a Sustainable Future

Picture of treesWelcome to the Green Communities Program! Green Communities is a web-based toolkit and planning guide designed to help communities access the tools and information to help them become more sustainable, Green Communities.

The Green Communities toolkit is closely linked, for many communities, to the concept of smart growth. EPA's Smart Growth web page describes smart growth as development that serves the economy, the community, and the environment. It changes the terms of the development debate away from the traditional growth-no growth question to "how and where should new development be accommodated"

The Goals of the Green Communities Program are:
  • to promote innovative tools that encourage successful community-based environmental protection and sustainable community development.
  • to establish partnerships with other organizations and agencies to help build community capacity and knowledge in order to create more livable communities.
  • to provide technical assistance through the web-based toolkit.
The web-based toolkit is organized around a 5-step planning approach. Each planning step results in a tangible outcome. Begin your journey toward sustainability by clicking on Step 1: Where are we now! and see where it leads you.:
Step 1: Where are we now? This step helps communities design a community assessment leading to an overall profile of existing community environmental, economic and social conditions.
Step 2: Where are we going? This step encourages communities to look into the future to determine how changes in population, for example, may alter the face and character of their community in the absence of intervention. A trends analysis provides a baseline for communities to create a future vision that is compatible with community goals.
Step 3: Where do we want to be? Creating a community future vision encourages communities to plan and act in longer time frames. A community vision statement articulates how a community sees itself in 10, 20, 50 years - a sustainable, Green Community.
Step 4: How do we get there? Action Plans are the key to achieving a community's future vision. Action plans describe the necessary activities and tasks to develop new programs, policies or projects that will support the community's vision.
Step 5: Let's Go! You are ready to go! The community has several key action plans that need to be implemented. This step and the information within, provides an array of tools for implementation - technical, non-technical, policy and programs.
WIthin each step, the following sub-topics highlight pertinent information associated with each of the 5 planning steps:
Introduction - A general overview of each planning step.
How to get started - Describes a few key actions to help you get started.
Tools - This section contains a variety of tools and resources that will help you develop your plans.
Publications - An annotated list of references.
Case Studies - Brief summaries of communities on their way to becoming sustainable, Green Communities.
Frequently asked questions - A list of questions that may come to mind about the Green Communities program.
Please contact us if you have questions, suggestions or would like to learn more about the program.
We hope you enjoy your visit to the our web site.
Francesca Di Cosmo (
Green Communities Coordinator

Smart Strategies for a Sustainable Future
The Green Communities website is your portal to tools and information on the best strategies, programs and policies to reduce your environmental footprint. A 5-step environmental planning framework leads you to a greener, sustainable future.
Victorian houses with skyscraper background
Step One - Community Assessment
Where Are We Now?

Bulldozer clearing lot of debris
Step Two - Trends Analysis
Where Are We Going?

Horse and Carriage City tour
Step Three - Vision Statement
Where Do We Want To Be?

Natural path through wooded area
Step Four - Sustainable Action Plans
How Do We Get There?

Bicycle Race
Step Five - Implementation
Let's Go!