New U.S. Government Partnership for Sustainable Communities

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.

Read the partnership agreement and six key livability principles. Learn more at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s blog, The Fastlane

One thought on “New U.S. Government Partnership for Sustainable Communities

  1. Mark L. Johnson 07/09/2009 / 1:14 pm

    “partnership will help improve access to affordable housing, more transportation options, and lower transportation costs, while protecting the environment”

    This excerpt sounds good, but I think it reflects the lack of depth in our comprehension of how we can exist in a sustainable way. Humanity throw’s around the phrase “protect the environment” as if we are similar to healthy but defenseless orphans, widows or historical sites that need to be preserved. Typically, we make long lists of human desires and lump the “environment” into one catch phrase. The landscape isn’t something we sit upon like an alien space ship, but it and we are part of an giant organism called earth. Just as humanity requires hundreds of thousands of bacteria for our bodies to function, we need to feed, heal, and maintain the stength of the entire “environment”, as if it is our own body. We are, after all, simply one part of a giant organism. Or maybe we should conclude that “we have seen the environment and it is us”.
    Mark L. Johnson
    Ecotone Land Design, Inc.
    Kissimmee – St. Cloud

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