Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Steps Toward Community Sustainability

Steps Communities Can Take Today to Move Toward a More Sustainable Future

In its "Model for Sustainable Urban Design", [PDF/3MB] the NECSC joins the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the International City/County Management Association and many other organizations in promoting resource-smart community development among all U.S. communities. The 21 recommended steps below consolidate best practices promoted by these organizations and practiced by the nation’s most sustainable communities:

Design, Planning and Management
  • Engage regional stakeholders in envisioning a sustainable future
  • Incorporate sustainable design principles into comprehensive and general plans
  • Establish short-, mid- and long-term sustainability goals, objectives and evaluation criteria for development decision-making
  • Make development decisions predictable, fair and cost-effective
  • Create economic incentives to encourage sustainable development

  • Develop a sustainable energy strategy with corresponding plans, policies and programs for implementation
  • Deploy sustainable energy technologies such as cogeneration, distributed generation and renewables, and practice efficient energy management
  • Develop local sources of recoverable energy including municipal landfills, wastewater treatment and solid waste processing facilities
  • Adopt energy-efficient building standards

Land Use and Transportation
  • Promote mixed-use developments at densities that support regional transit
  • Create walkable neighborhoods with a strong sense of place
  • Encourage use of alternative fuels, fleets and transit infrastructure
  • Strengthen and direct development toward existing communities
  • Preserve open space, farmland, natural beauty, habitat and critical environmental areas
  • Integrate open space throughout the urban landscape

Housing and Environmental Systems
  • Encourage compact building design
  • Create a range of housing opportunities and choices
  • Provide incentives for higher-density housing along transit corridors
  • Reward sustainable best management practices by the building design and construction industries
  • Reclaim and reuse, where possible, all urban “waste” waters
  • Encourage use of products designed to be recycled for multiple uses