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EPA, HUD, DOT Form Partnership For Sustainable Communities

sustainable-city2Using six guiding “livability principles,” federal efforts in transportation, environmental protection and housing investments will be coordinated under a new partnership.

The Partnership for Sustainable Communities is a joint project of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (HUD), according to a press release.

The partnership’s six livability principles are:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Value communities and neighborhoods – Enhance the unique characteristics of all communities by investing in healthy, safe and walkable neighborhoods – rural, urban or suburban.

The partnership first began taking shape earlier this year as a project between DOT and HUD to implement joint housing and transportation initiatives. Now, with EPA joining the fold, the goal is to ensure that housing and transporation projects adequately address climate change and environmental protection.

Some public-private partnerships are encouraging more sustainability in city planning.

In Europe, 350 cities have signed a “Covenant of Mayors” committing them to CO2 emissions reductions of over 20 percent by 2020.

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