2nd anniversary of Partnership for Sustainable Communities


It is now two years since President Obama announced the launch of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities initiative, linking three federal institutions (HUD, EPA, DOT) in a series of actions to promote sustainable community development, to "coordinate our efforts and help build communities where housing, public transportation, jobs, and services are conveniently connected, where businesses thrive, and where the air, water and land are clean." Guided by six liveability principles, the Partnership has aimed to direct federal and private investment into infrastructure to "help states and communities create jobs and stronger economies by developing more sustainably."

As one of the Obama Administrations signature urban policy initiatives, how has this gone? In A Year of Progress for Sustainable Communities, the Partnership reported on its initial activities. L

ast June the Parntership opened applications for a $100 million Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant program, which were distributed among a wide range of applicants throughout the country. One part of this assessment is how the support for these metropolitan and multi-jurisdictional planning efforts were used to develop reigonal sustainability plans for integrating housing, land use, economic and workforce development, transportation, and infrastructure investments.

Greening America's Capitals is another Partnership program, with the goal of helping up to five state capital cities per year to develop "a vision of distinctive, environmentally friendly neighborhoods that incorporate innovative green building and green infrastructure." Last September EPA announced their choice of the first set of five capitals: Boston; Jefferson City, Mo.; Hartford, Conn.; Charleston, W.Va.; and Little Rock, Ark.

Last September another Partnership activity took place at Virginia Tech, a Sustainable Communities Research Roundtable, bringing together researchers, experts, and agency officials to brainstorm ideas on the links between housing, transportation, energy and cities in transition, summarized in the report Policy Research Priorities for Sustainable Communities.

For 2011 the Partnership is focusing on four priorities while building on the work begun in the past year. That work includes investments of over $400 million in over 200 communities throughout the U.S.