In the 2010 budget, Congress provided a total of $150 million to HUD for a Sustainable Communities Initiative to improve regional planning efforts that integrate housing and transportation decisions and increase the capacity to improve land use and zoning. Of that total, approximately $100 million will be available for regional integrated planning initiatives through HUD’s Sustainable Communities Planning Grant Program.
During February HUD sought input from the public, including state and local governments, regional bodies, community development entities, and a broad range of other stakeholders on how the program should be structured in order to have the most meaningful impact on sustainable regional planning.
A full overview of the program and comments are available at HUDs website, here :
ARC provided many comments to HUD regarding the new program.
Among the ARC comments were the following: ARC believes the program should require the mandatory inclusion of a regional organization composed of local elected officials; a full range of activities should be eligible for grant funding; the Regional Plans for Sustainable Development should include a rigorous stakeholder involvement program, scenarios based on regional and local goals, alignment of transportation model forecasts with realistic and market based regional and local land use policy, transportation project selection and response to changing demographics including the growing diversity and aging of the population with a focus on economic development and efficient development patterns based in centers and corridors rather than outward expansion.
ARC stated its support for the Livability Principles outlined by HUD, but it should be noted that a limited number of regional plans in the U.S. would currently meet a strict interpretation of these standards. MPOs and planning agencies in states with laws that enforce rigorous requirements for growth management (Washington, Oregon) will be more closely aligned. Georgia and most mid-level growth management states will have some degree of alignment of regional plans and implementation actions with the HUD proposed Regional Plan goals. However, these actions are likely to have been created voluntarily rather than through a state regulated growth management environment which requires alignment of transportation, housing and land use implementation. Criteria should review the content of existing MPO and regional plans, while encouraging participation by regions with a range of existing sustainability efforts underway.
Tags: Affordable housing, housing, Office of Community Planning and Development, Regional planning, United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Urban design, Urban planning, Urban studies and planning