Category: Community Sustainability Planning

New TNSI Global Strategic Sustainability Initiative

The Natural Step International (TNSI), after several years of strategic planning, has formulated a powerful, new, 5-year strategic direction 2012-2017.

The new direction addresses the cumulative insufficiency of global efforts to date, the increasing urgency and magnitude of the challenge, and the shrinking window of opportunity.

The new approach builds on 22 years of success working with individual organizations and communities but shifts to enabling the broad based movement needed for collaborative change, transformation, and ultimate success.

TNSI’s new strategic direction is an opportunity for firms, communities, and sustainability champions to reassess their effectiveness, review TNSI’s new program and open-source Framework for Sustainable Development (FSSD), and leverage TNSI’s new approach and FSSD to their own advantage.

After all, the point is not being the most sustainable firm or city IN the world, but the most sustainable firm or city FOR the world.

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The Natural Step is a global network of non-profit organizations, strategic partners, and individuals who share the same brand, identity and purpose. Its vision is a world in which individuals, communities, and businesses, thrive within nature’s limits. Its mission is to accelerate change towards sustainability. TNSI is the international secretariat that facilitates and coordinates the wide-ranging activities of TNS offices and the global network of practitioners and researchers.

Basic Planning 101 Workshop Series

Earlier this year we offered a series of three free Planning Commission training workshops (February, April and May). These trainings were geared to local government planning commissioners, elected officials, professional planners and/or interested parties in Northern California. Each workshop had a different theme and related presentations by seasoned members of the planning community. Each workshop was held in a different location within the greater San Francisco Bay Area.

Click here for workshop contents and presentations.


APA Leads Americas’ Energy-Climate Parnership

From Global Planners Network:

The American Planning Association (APA) is leading an Urban Planning Initiative under the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas. The 30-month project will promote urban planning as a tool to foster sustainable, climate-proof development across the Americas, under President Barak Obama’s Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas. The work, funded by the US State Department, includes a component of capacity building in the Caribbean in collaboration with the Canadian Institute of Planners and their Guyana-Canada Partnership for Community Planning. In addition, APA is providing expertise, technical assistance, and training in Latin America and is capturing best practices to inform domestic practice.

Sustainability All the Rage at APA PTS

FYI: cross post from APA newsletter:

Come to Dallas/Fort Worth for four days of in-depth workshops at this fall’s Planners Training Service, November 9–12, 2011. For our first PTS workshops in Texas, we’re bringing you the biggest ideas in planning — the ideas you need to solve the problems on your desk today. Sign up now!

Focus on Sustainability and Resiliency . . . 

Learn to make your community stronger, safer, and greener in four workshops designed to help you plan sustainable, resilient communities.

Comprehensive Planning for Sustainable Communities
November 9–10
Everyone wants sustainability. Find out how leading-edge communities are making sustainability work and get concrete ideas for making it part of your comprehensive plan.

Sustainable Transportation Planning
November 9–10
Get up to speed on how transit, walking, driving, and cycling converge. Leave with state-of-the-practice tools to calm traffic and create a greener community.

Preparing for Change: Creating Resilient Communities
November 11–12
Any region with severe weather and a fast-growing population is a natural disaster waiting to happen. Learn real-world lessons that can make your community more resilient.

Back by demand! Sustainable Zoning and Development Controls
November 11–12
Discover how cities and towns around the country are promoting sustainability. Take away new models and proven strategies you can use in your own community. Earn your CM law credits at this popular workshop.

Register for PTS today

Questions? Contact

Pathbreaking Sustainable Communities Planning Research at Virginia Tech


Virginia Tech’s Metropolitan Institute’s Sustainable Communities Initiative and the concept and work of their Sustainability Lab are high-level, valuable summaries of the state of sustainability planning. They are well worth a few minutes of reading.

The Initiative covers the topics of climate change, design, public health and planning, sustainability planning, transportation, and urban regeneration. Of particular interest is the topic of sustainability planning, the introduction of which provides a good summary of the topic and their approach, including their take on eco-cities.

The work of the Sustainability Lab is contained on another website, and appears to be a rich resource.It has a set of learning modules on sustainability planning, as well as other resources on international cases, HUD Grants, and a review and dissection of sustainability plans.


In the spring of 2010 the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech launched its Sustainable Communities Initiative (SCI) to explore the intersection of planning, design, and policy through applied research and direct assistance to communities. After its preliminary scan of the literature and model programs, the Metropolitan Institute started to identify gaps in our sustainability knowledge with the goal of recommending research projects that would facilitate the necessary changes in government policies, industry practices and individual behaviors.

At the same time, HUD’s Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities (OSHC) was developing its grant program and forging its new Partnership for Sustainable Communities with EPA and DOT. The Metropolitan Institute, together with Virginia Tech’s Center for Housing Research (CHR), began a series of conversations with OSHC and HUD’s Office of Planning, Development, and Research (PD&R) to better understand how Virginia Tech’s sustainability work could assist HUD in framing relevant research questions and policy initiatives. These discussions led Virginia Tech to convene a one-day research roundtable on September 1st, 2010.

The Sept. 1st Round Table discussion developed high-priority lines of research “to provide HUD and the new interagency partnership with research ideas and insights that support the development of a sustainability policy agenda.” Go here for a web page summary and to access the full PDF report: Policy Research Priorities for Sustainable Communities–Insights and Ideas for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities.

Sustainable Cities of Euro Tour Blog (Summer 2011)

Follow the tour via this blog site.

Sustainable Cities of Northern Europe is a UC Davis Summer Abroad class. University students from the U.S. and Canada travel, learn and plan/design their way across Europe exploring how cities, neighborhoods and projects can be planned, designed, built and experienced in a more sustainable manner. 

The course is taught by Jeff Loux, Ph.D. UC Davis, California, United States.
Jeff Loux is chair of the Science, Agriculture and Natural Resources department at UC Davis Extension and adjunct professor of Environmental Design at UC Davis. His expertise and interests range from sustainable urban design to water policy. He has written and lectured extensively on sustainable approaches to water resources management.