Sustainable Communities

Creating more sustainable , livable, and resilient communities is at the heart of local government leadership and management. (What is a sustainable community?)

Sustainability is a mind-set that informs decisions about social, environmental, health, and economic issues to serve both the short-term and long-term interests of communities.

From planning for land use, efficient energy consumption, and walkable neighborhoods to setting up recycling programs and supporting public transportation, professional managers can help make sustainability a priority for their local governments and communities.

  • Decatur, GA, is a national leader in promoting active living as an essential building block of a sustainable community.
  • After a tornado all but leveled Greensburg, KS, City Administrator Steve Hewitt led the effort to rebuild smarter by encouraging the construction of buildings that were stronger, more energy-efficient, and a better use of tax dollars.
  • When housing prices soared in the 1990s, Bedford, MA, formed a non-profit housing trust to increase affordable housing for moderate and lower income families that matched the town’s small-town feel.
  • Tom Brownlow, city administrator of Charles City, IA, led the effort to transform flood-prone riverfront land into a park that includes a whitewater kayak course.
  • Warwick Township, PA, Manager Gail Weniger envisions her township as a place where residents can opt to leave their cars at home and still get to their favorite destinations—even in neighboring communities. She’s making her vision real by connecting her entire community to walking or biking trails, and creating an extensive trail network that connects Warwick to its neighbors.
  • During a severe water shortage, Sonoma, CA, City Manager Linda Kelly launched a program that helped homeowners with the cost of replacing their grass with drought-resistant plants.

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