A new website offers communities practical advice on energy efficiency, transportation alternatives and more.

The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development has created an important online resource for professionals and citizens interested in improving America’s metro regions, cities and neighborhoods. It looks very promising to me, especially as a sort of living compendium of best practices.

In its description, the agency’s Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities describes the site’s purpose:

America’s communities are developing strategies to help ensure their economic, environmental and social well-being. A sustainable community is an urban, rural, or suburban community that has a vibrant local economy, more housing and transportation choices, is closer to jobs, schools and shops, is more energy independent, and helps protect clean air and water.

Because every community is different and sustainability encompasses a range of needs and opportunities, there is no ‘one size fits all’ model. Rather, sustainability uses a bottom-up approach and a range of strategies in response to the needs, assets, and visions that each community brings to the table.

What all of these communities have in common are coordinated, well-thought-out approaches to leveraging investments that attract jobs, save taxpayer money, offer more energy-efficient housing and transportation choices and that balance economic and natural assets to meet both the current and future needs of all Americans.

The Sustainable Communities Resource Center is intended to provide the public with a comprehensive set of information that supports local and regional strategies, with a particular emphasis on sustainable housing and planning. The Resource Center provides ready access to best practices, cutting edge research, new reports and resources, and spotlights innovation in the field.

the front page of HUD's Sustainable Communities Resource Center

Today, the home page provides links to stories on exemplary developments in three California cities; a column of "sustainability news" links; a link through which users can subscribe to the Office’s eNews service; and subject-matter highlight stories on Walk Score, energy efficiency in multifamily rental housing, and on housing affordability when transportation costs are considered. There are also what appears to be standing links to information on six key categories: rural, tribal and small-town sustainability; economic competitiveness; regional planning; green building; healthy communities and housing and transportation choice. 

And there’s even more, but the design of the site is clean and uncluttered. When Shelley Poticha was tapped by HUD secretary Shaun Donovan to lead the agency’s sustainability efforts, I wrote that the agency had done really well to get her. Shelley and her wonderful staff just keep proving me right.

This post originally appeared on the NRDC's Switchboard blog.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. a photo collage of 2020 presidential candidates.
    Equity

    Will Housing Swing the 2020 Election?

    Among Democratic candidates for president, the politics of America’s housing affordability crisis are getting complicated. Just wait until Trump barges in.

  2. A photo of an abandoned building in Newark, New Jersey.
    Equity

    The 10 Cities Getting a Philanthropic Boost for Economic Mobility

    An initiative funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Ballmer Group focuses on building “pipelines of opportunity.”

  3. A person tapes an eviction notice to the door of an apartment.
    Equity

    Why Landlords File for Eviction (Hint: It’s Usually Not to Evict)

    Most of the time, a new study finds, landlords file for eviction because it tilts the power dynamic in their favor—not because they want to eject their tenants.

  4. A house with a for sale sign.
    Perspective

    Why Are Zoning Laws Defining What Constitutes a Family?

    It’s wrong to exclude safe uses of housing because of who belongs to a household. Like family law, zoning ordinances should prioritize functional families.

  5. A cat lays flat on a bench at a park on the outskirts of Tokyo.
    Life

    Why Don't Americans Use Their Parks at Night?

    Most cities aren’t fond of letting people use parks after dark. But there are good lifestyle, environmental, and safety reasons to reconsider.

×