RDG Launches HUD Sustainable Development Planning Services

Under the name, “regional sustainability plan,” HUD has charged communities and regions across the country with the critical work of shaping a future that is both vibrant and lasting.
Well before HUD found funding for this work, RDG has been helping community’s craft their own vision for sustainable regional plans. These plans have been built with a solid foundation of rich public engagement around a broad scope of economic, social, and natural resource factors.

Recognizing that communities all have different needs – depending on where they are in their planning. RDG helps communities craft a process fitting the specific assistance they need. As part of our community engagement process, we offer a “menu” of evaluation based on the key elements essential to successful community sustainable planning.
Data – We start with a clear picture of how sustainable a community is today working toward where they want to be in the future. Our team works with communities to design a sustainability current conditions research plan which empowers local leaders to develop more intelligent visioning and implementation strategies.
Education – Getting community leaders on the same page is critical in any project launch. As an initiative unfolds, education helps leaders embrace the benefits of looking at issues collaboratively. This, in turn, builds skills for understanding the inter-play between social, economic, and environmental challenges facing a community.
Vision – Few planning initiatives are successful without a driving vision. While a vision might adjust slightly over the life of a project, it is critical to engage community leaders from across a wide spectrum of public and private sectors so a project starts off on the right foot.
Strategy – Once a solid vision is in place, it is critical for community leaders to develop a set of executable strategies to bring a community from where it is today to where it wants to be tomorrow. Everyone in a community has a stake in making the future start to happen.
Local Governance – In sustainability planning, a broad spectrum of the local community (individuals, households, neighborhoods, businesses, organizations, and local governments) all have crucial ownership roles in implementing a sustainability plan once it is adopted.
Implementation Tools – Often, planners and community partners need to develop mechanisms in the form of incentives, policies, codes, guidelines, and community-engagement innovations to help implement the plan further, faster.
Outcomes of Effective Sustainability Planning:
Strong sense of community. Sustainable communities have a level of vibrancy – built from coordinating leader and grassroots engagement around vision, strategy, and implementation.
Cultural identity. From this strength, a unique identity emerges – aspects of a community’s character that give a place its mark, its sense of common purpose beyond the routine.
Quality, affordable housing choices. When local residents have access to quality housing, their overall quality of life improves; they are more productive at work and happier overall.
Effective, interconnected transportation systems. Communities and regions need valid transportation options allowing companies, workers, residents, and visitors to travel by car, bus, bicycle, or on foot.
Diversity of job growth, economic vitality. No community will maintain its vibrancy without an educated, diverse, well-employed work force capable of weathering the ongoing challenges of economic flux.
21st Century Education Systems. Public, private, and parochial schools give students the opportunities to succeed in life. Education opportunities in the area affect the ability of our region to attract and retain jobs and overall community wealth.
Individual, family, and community health. Sustainable communities strive to connect people to wellness, active lifestyles, healthy food, effective medical care and more.
Quality recreation, entertainment and community/outdoor spaces. Prospering communities appreciate the value residents place on their ability to connect with friends and family through restorative play and cultural amenities. This includes ensuring that quality parks, recreation and natural resources are an integral part of any community’s sustainability plan.

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