Land Use: Sustainability Principles
Land Use is the most visible of the sustainability topics. Cities with sustainable land use create an obvious balance of environmental preservation, commerce and livability. Land use and transportation are intricately connected so be sure to visit the Transportation Sustainability Principles.
Communities should contain an ample supply of open green spaces designed to encourage consistent active and passive use.
Sustainable Water Sources
The current and long-term availability of water should be treated as the vital starting point of any land use decision. Community planning must include the provision and protection of local water supply.
Walkability & Connectivity
Communities should be pedestrian-oriented, with daily needs situated within easy and enjoyable walking distance of each other. To promote this access, residential, commercial, recreational, and civic uses should be connected by both public and private transportation options.
Integration of Diverse Community Features
Community planning should integrate a variety of residential, commercial, recreational, and civic facilities essential to the daily life of residents of differing demographic profiles.
Strong Sense of Place
The design of geographic spaces and structures should reflect and celebrate what is unique about a community’s people, culture, heritage, and natural history.
General Sustainability Principles Applicable to Land Use
Dedicate sustainability staff
The presence of dedicated staff provides the necessary leadership for a successful municipal sustainability program. This staff fosters inter-departmental cooperation and accountability, spearheads planning, identifies needed resources, and advocates for sustainability goals within departments. Perhaps most importantly, within an atmosphere of highly competitive municipal issues, sustainability staff maintains focus, drives initiatives, and inserts sustainability goals into policies and processes.
Set Sustainability Goals
Establish short-, mid- and long-range goals. Documentation can vary with some cities simply listing goals and others establishing extensive plans with implementation strategies. Regardless of the documentation method, identify appropriate measures for tracking progress toward adopted goals. For example, in March 2006 the City Council of Evanston, Illinois adopted a strategic plan placing sustainability at the forefront of its municipal attention. Within each plan category, a vision statement set forth the “idea and aim” behind the identified goals and objectives.
The success of a sustainability program can best be measured through comparison with past performance. Therefore, establish an effective system to monitor and collect target data. A performance measurement system should be used to justify additional investments in sustainability initiatives. For example, energy savings from high efficiency lighting could be used to purchase more efficient heating and cooling equipment.
Take a holistic approach
Seemingly independent and disparate problems often reveal interconnected causes or solutions when considered as parts of a larger system. Seek to understand and improve the interaction between economic systems, ecological systems, and societal needs. Taking a holistic view of all the systems necessary for a sustainable city often indentifies opportunities to increase efficiencies, lessen impacts, and provide greater livability. For instance, cities may co-locate complementary recycling and manufacturing facilities where the recycled waste becomes the raw material for new products (e.g., a city repository for organic waste adjacent to a bio-diesel manufacturing plant).
To ensure enduring support for sustainability initiatives, build partnerships among city departments and outside organizations such as non-profits, trade associations and educational institutions. These partnerships may provide resources for wider initiatives and expanded influence, as well as identify previously unforeseen opportunities and methods for overcoming limited municipal funding of sustainability efforts. In 2008, the Corvallis (Oregon) Sustainability Coalition included more than 135 partner organizations leading to adoption of a comprehensive Community Sustainability Final Action Plan.
As sustainability efforts mature, transparency, communication, and education among colleagues, citizens, and community leaders will ensure the next generation of leadership has the necessary tools to guide and support future sustainability initiatives.The collection, reprocessing, marketing, and use of materials that were diverted or recovered from the solid waste stream.The ability or potential of a physical body to do work. The most common forms of energy are heat, light, mechanical (moving parts), and electrical.