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Guiding Principles

The Creating Sustainable Places initiative is guided by a set of principles, adopted by the Coordinating Committee, that address the elements of a sustainable community: equity, economy, environment, places and processes. These principles should be reflected in plans, projects and implementation strategies for the six key corridors that are part of the initiative. The principles will also serve as a guide for local governments working toward a more sustainable future.

EQUITY

Equity icon Residents of all races, economic means and abilities are welcome and equipped to participate in all aspects of community life. A region is most likely to be sustainable, and nationally and globally competitive, if all its residents are active participants in its economy, community and public life.

ENVIRONMENT

Environment icon The environment and our natural resources and assets are preserved, protected and restored. Natural assets such as wetlands and open space provide benefits, including clean air and water, that are essential for the health and vitality of the region’s residents and places.

ECONOMY

Economy icon A competitive, robust economy is supported and promoted by fostering innovation, supporting quality education, and enhancing access to quality jobs. A sustainable region requires a productive, resilient, adaptable and innovative economy. Full participation in the economy by a well-educated workforce with easy access to next-generation job opportunities strengthens the economy, increases quality of life, and makes the region more sustainable. Increasingly, the strength of a region’s economy is measured by how well it competes across the country and the world, not by how much it competes within itself.

PLACES

Sustainable places, wherever they occur, are vibrant, efficient, and enduring and are characterized by:
Reinvestment icon Reinvestment: Investment in existing communities and neighborhoods ensures that they remain or become vibrant, connected, green places.
Transportation icon Transportation Choices: Travel choices help reduce family transportation costs, reduce air pollution, and connect families to jobs and services.
Housing icon Housing Choices: Housing choices for all ages, lifestyles, incomes, races and ethnicities help connect families and jobs and support a robust economy and healthy housing industry.
Corridors icon Development in Corridors and Activity Centers: Vibrant corridors, with housing, employment, and commercial development, support public transportation, create new development opportunities, provide increased lifestyle choices, make efficient use of existing public and private assets, and help knit the region together.
Healthy icon Design for Healthier Lifestyles: Places designed for healthier lifestyles and access to healthy foods improve the health of residents, reduce health-care costs and contribute to vibrant neighborhoods.
Preservation icon Preservation of Unique Community Characteristics: Distinctive communities and historic and cultural assets increase the vibrancy of the region and contribute to its
overall economic health.
Energy icon Resource Conservation and Energy Efficiency: Sustainable places conserve resources for future generations and simultaneously reduce costs and increase economic and fiscal efficiency.

PROCESSES

Partnership icon Partnerships are created and strengthened between government, the private sector, regional institutions, and the public to better coordinate public policy and private investment in support of sustainability. As society becomes more complex and resources more limited, it is increasingly necessary that all sectors collaborate to maximize the benefits of strategic investments and minimize long-term costs.
Engagement icon Stakeholders and the public, especially residents who have not typically engaged, are involved in the development of plans and policies. An ambitious vision cannot be accomplished if the region’s residents are not engaged and supportive of its principles, plans and policies.
Learning icon Organizational and institutional processes promote learning from past experience and building capacity for effective change. In a sustainable, competitive region, local institutions are enduring, resilient and adaptable, and have the capacity to address major issues and changing conditions. A key element is the ability to continuously learn from past efforts and from successful practices in other institutions and regions.
Triple bottom line icon Decision-making processes are integrated to simultaneously maximize environmental, economic, and social benefits through multi-benefit solutions. The interdependence of issues requires integrated solutions that maximize benefits, leverage resources and minimize unintended consequences.