The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Transportation (DOT), and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced an inter-agency partnership on sustainable communities, which will be driven by a set of “livability principles,” and coordinate policy across government departments. According to an EPA press release, “the partnership will help improve access to affordable housing, more transportation options, and lower transportation costs, while protecting the environment in communities nationwide.” EPA Administrator, Lisa P. Jackson said: “This partnership provides a framework to guide decisions that affect all communities. This way, investments of financial and human resources by any one of our agencies will meet shared goals and confront significant challenges we face together.”
The Partnership for Sustainable Communities established six livability principles that will act as a foundation for inter-agency coordination:
- Provide more transportation choices
Develop safe, reliable and economical transportation choices to decrease household transportation costs, reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil, improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote public health.
- Promote equitable, affordable housing
Expand location- and energy-efficient housing choices for people of all ages, incomes, races and ethnicities to increase mobility and lower the combined cost of housing and transportation.
- Enhance economic competitiveness
Improve economic competitiveness through reliable and timely access to employment centers, educational opportunities, services and other basic needs by workers as well as expanded business access to markets.
- Support existing communities
Target federal funding toward existing communities – through such strategies as transit-oriented, mixed-use development and land recycling – to increase community revitalization, improve the efficiency of public works investments, and safeguard rural landscapes.
- Coordinate policies and leverage investment
Align federal policies and funding to remove barriers to collaboration, leverage funding and increase the accountability and effectiveness of all levels of government to plan for future growth, including making smart energy choices such as locally generated renewable energy.
- Value communities and neighborhoods
Enhance the unique characteristics of all communities by investing in healthy, safe and walkable neighborhoods – rural, urban or suburban.