About Us

Overview

On June 16, 2009, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) joined together to help communities nationwide improve access to affordable housing, increase transportation options, and lower transportation costs while protecting the environment.

The Partnership for Sustainable Communities works to coordinate federal housing, transportation, water, and other infrastructure investments to make neighborhoods more prosperous, allow people to live closer to jobs, save households time and money, and reduce pollution. The partnership agencies incorporate six principles of livability into federal funding programs, policies, and future legislative proposals.

Livability Principles

Provide more transportation choices.
Develop safe, reliable, and economical transportation choices to decrease household transportation costs, reduce our nationís dependence on foreign oil, improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and promote public health.

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.

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.

Support existing communities.
Target federal funding toward existing communities—through strategies like transit-oriented, mixed-use development and land recycling—to increase community revitalization and the efficiency of public works investments and safeguard rural landscapes.

Coordinate and leverage federal policies and 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.

Value communities and neighborhoods.
Enhance the unique characteristics of all communities by investing in healthy, safe, and walkable neighborhoods—rural, urban, or suburban.

Achievements

Since 2009, HUD, DOT, and EPA have been coordinating their work to help communities around the country better meet their housing, transportation, and environmental goals—laying the groundwork for an economy that provides good jobs now and creates a strong foundation for long-term prosperity. Below are a few highlights of the Partnership agencies’ accomplishments.

New Tools for Data and Analysis
One of the Partnership’s objectives is to increase public access to data on housing, transportation, and land use in order to support data-driven decision-making by communities. In summer 2013, we released the Smart Location Database, a consistent nationwide GIS data resource for measuring location efficiency and the Sustainable Communities Census HotReport which gives community leaders and residents a quick and easy way to determine how well a community is performing on a variety of sustainability indicators.

Twitter Town Hall and Webinar Series
On June 17, 2013, EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe, HUD Deputy Secretary Maurice Jones, and DOT Deputy Secretary John Porcari took questions and comments from the public in a Twitter Town Hall. Twitter users asked questions in advance and during the Town Hall using the hashtag #sustainableqs which was also live streamed. 

In July 2013, the Partnership hosted a webinar series about topics on which EPA, HUD, and DOT offer coordinated support: investing in green infrastructure, creating context-sensitive streets, and integrating housing and transportation planning.

Regional Roundtable Discussions
Throughout the summer 2013, the Partnership agencies hosted regional roundtables in Arlington, Texas; Denver, Colorado; Toms River, New Jersey, and other communities across the country. Municipal staff, community leaders, business and industry representatives, and other stakeholders will be invited to tell us about the successes and challenges of their projects—and what the Partnership can do to help. 

Pacific Southwest Region Releases Accomplishments Report. 
In June 2013, the Partnership agencies in the Pacific Southwest Region developed a report to highlight the hard work and successes by community leaders, transportation agencies, and housing advocates in their region. These case studies offer best practices for comprehensive land use and transportation planning that advances economic growth and meets our environmental and health goals. Read the report.

Deputies Tour Cincinnati and Indianapolis
In January 2013, HUD, DOT, and EPA Deputies visited Cincinnati and Indianapolis to review both cities' progress on key projects funded by the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. In Cincinnati, the Deputies traveled along the future route of the Cincinnati Streetcar and in Indianapolis toured the city’s Smart Growth District. With grants from DOT to plan transit connections, from HUD for rezoning efforts, and from EPA for smart growth redevelopment, these projects show how federal agencies work together to support local planners and decision-makers.

Governors’ Institute on Community Design
In July 2012, the Partnership agencies announced support for the Governors’ Institute on Community Design to provide enhanced technical guidance to governors seeking to tackle housing, transportation, environmental, and health challenges facing their states. Established in 2005, the Governors’ Institute brings together leading practitioners and academics in government, design, development, and regional economics to help governors and their state executive teams make informed choices about growth and development in their states. More information on the Governors’ Institute is available at: http://www.govinstitute.org

White House Forum on Sustainable Communities
On the three year anniversary of the Partnership in June 2012, the Partnership convened more than 50 local government and business leaders to discuss how to best integrate the administration’s sustainability efforts with job creation. The White House blog covered the Partnership anniversary event.

Partnership Celebrates Three Years of Accomplishments
In June 2012, the Partnership released a report describing accomplishments of the Partnership and the communities it serves on its third anniversary. Partnership Three Years Helping Communities Achieve Their Visions for Growth and Prosperity. (PDF 20p 4.27MB) A case study database was also launched with many of the case studies from the report.

Supporting Sustainable Rural Communities 
In November 2011, the Partnership Agencies and USDA developed a Supporting Sustainable Rural Communities report (PDF 52p 3MB) to highlight federal programs available to assist rural America. The report features case studies showcasing rural accomplishments, sample funding and technical assistance opportunities, and performance measures rural communities can use to assess their progress.

Sustainable Communities Grant Announcements
In October 2010, the Partnership for Sustainable Communities announced a series of grants or other assistance totaling $409.5 million in funding to support livability investments in over 200 communities across the country.  The grants were highlighted in a joint press conference at the National Press Club on October 21st with Melody Barnes, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council.

Sustainable Communities Research Roundtable
In September 2010, the Partnership hosted a research roundtable with Virginia Tech’s Metropolitan Institute to develop policy research priorities for sustainable communities (Exit Disclaimer).  The researchers discussed how to make housing more accessible, affordable, and energy-efficient and how to help older, distressed communities revitalize in an environmentally responsible way.

One Year Accomplishments Report 
In its first year, the Partnership for Sustainable Communities made strides toward its goals by targeting resources to help communities strengthen their economies by developing more sustainably, removing regulatory and policy barriers to make it easier for state and local governments to access federal resources, and aligning the agencies' policies and priorities. Progress on these initiatives is described in more detail in the Partnership for Sustainable Communities: A Year of Progress for American Communities (PDF 16p 1.84MB) report.

Recommendations for the Sustainable Siting of Federal Facilities
In April 2010, the Partnership agencies worked with the General Services Administration, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Homeland Security to develop recommendations for the sustainable siting of federal facilities in response to President Obama’s Executive Order 13514 (PDF 15p 87.04KB). These recommendations will help agencies use energy more efficiently, reduce pollution, and strengthen the surrounding communities. The Partnership also hosted an online webinar to review the recommendations and answer questions about their implementation.

Sustainable Communities Tour
In September 2009, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, DOT Secretary Ray LaHood, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, and then-White House Urban Affairs Director Adolfo Carrión embarked on a Sustainable Communities Tour to hear from leaders on the ground about ways the Part­nership could help communities create more economic opportunities and affordable homes while protecting their air and water. The agency leaders visited several projects that exem­plify the types of places the Partnership wants to support:

  • Chicago’s Bethel Center is a new community services hub in a green building on a former brownfield. It is located next to a train station and has affordable homes nearby.
  • Dubuque, Iowa, is transforming its historic Millwork District into a sustainable neighborhood with a mix of uses, housing options for a range of income levels, transportation options, and infrastructure improvements.
  • Denver has refurbished its historic Union Station to make it a multimodal transit hub that has helped revitalize the surrounding area. Also in Denver, South Lincoln Park Homes built new affordable housing on a former brownfield near a transit station.

Joint Testimony to Senate Banking Committee
On June 16, 2009, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson (PDF 13p 44.17KB), DOT Secretary Ray LaHood (PDF 10p 56.46KB), and HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan (PDF 9p 58.74KB) testified before the Senate Banking Committee. During the hearing (Video) they announced the Partnership for Sustainable Communities.