In 2009, the Departments of Transportation, Housing, and Environmental Protection Agency teamed up to coordinate efforts in planning and promoting livable communities. Livable communities equates to access to all generations, including older residents. Community planners should use the site to know where partnership initiatives are occurring, find examples worth emulating, and to discover grants or new resources.
The coordinated effort of all three departments in the planning and promotion of livable and sustainable communities brings with it enhanced effectiveness. Scrolling down the “About” page provides the user of some of the significant contributions since 2009, as well as three emphases in 2012. These emphases include sharing models of local successes, coordinating to make government work better, and helping communities solve problems. Of these the first and last are most important for community planners, though local government leadership can benefit from all three. The site is organized into five primary components: map, case studies, grants, resources and get involved.
Other website highlights include:
- Map: An interactive map demonstrates all of the places where Partnership grants or projects are taking place. Zooming in and clicking on a pin allows the user to see the project, agency, a description and any grant monies awarded. Community planners and leaders should use this as a resource tool. A bonus is that the projects are also downloadable in a variety of formats, and can be viewed offline.
- Case Studies: This link lists projects happening around the nation. Each project cites the title and location, along with a pdf document link. That document link leads to a written case study on the project, providing narrative detail and context. This is extremely helpful for discovering new initiatives and assessing their potential effectiveness.
- Grants: Funding is always a major issue for new livability initiatives. All three departments have links to their own grant monies, as well as, other opportunities for potential sources of funding. These range from parks to housing to transportation projects.
- Resources: The Partnership itself produces several publications, helping the community planner or local government to discover various aspects of livable communities and/or how all three emphases (transportation, housing and the environment) should be integrated into livable and sustainable community planning. All are downloadable, including several that highlight regional accomplishments.
- Get Involved: The partnership has a regional office in every state. Planners and leaders can also upload paragraph descriptions of new initiatives that are working in their own area.
How to Use
Community planners and local governments should use the Sustainable Communities Website as a significant governmental resource. The coordination of all three governmental departments means less redundancy and easier integration on a local level. The site is has a decidedly non-bureaucratic slant, focusing on practical solutions and ongoing initiatives.
View the website: Partnership for Sustainable Communities Website