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Sustainable Land Use and Economic Development
Sustainable Land Use and Economic Development
Communities should consider sustainability when developing their infrastructure and economy. Measures can be taken in the planning process to ensure that a community's growth is environmentally and socially responsible. Local governments who work with residents and local stakeholders to make proactive land use decisions contribute toward the community's long-term prosperity.
The following provides tangible actions catalyst communities can take to enable a just transition to decarbonization as it pertains to sustainable land use and economic development, and coincides with Michigan Green Communities. Relevant resources, webinars, and community examples accompany each action below.
Smart Growth is an approach to development that encourages a mix of building types and uses, diverse housing and transportation options, concentrated growth, and community engagement. Smart growth principles can be incorporated into local land-use ordinances and permitting processes to promote and incentivize sustainable development.
- Smart Growth
- Policy Guide on Smart Growth
- Smart Growth America Resources
- Sustainable Development Code Chapter 3: Land Use and Community Character
Increase protections for native habitats, native species, and natural features in your community by implementing low impact development practices and preservation initiatives on public lands. Additionally, update zoning ordinances to include sustainability requirements (e.g., wetland protection and greenspace requirements) and support the private purchasing of ecologically valuable habitats in your jurisdiction.
- Green Infrastructure
- Michigan's Native Plants and Ecosystem Services
- Water-Smart Landscapes
- Sustainable Development Code Chapter 1.2: Low-Impact Development and Storm Water Management
- Sustainable Development Code Chapter 1.3: Sensitive Lands and Wildlife Habitat
- Sustainable Development Code Chapter 1.7: Urban Forestry and Vegetation
- Urban and Community Forestry Programs and Information
- Aquatic and Wildlife Grants
- City of Detroit Land Based Projects
- City of East Lansing Pollinator Friendly Community
- Kane County, IL Subdivision Regulations - Landscaping (pg.47-48, 54)
- City of Minneapolis, MN Right to Install and Maintain a Managed Natural Landscape
- Putnam Township Wetland Protection Ordinance
- Meridian Township Wetland Protection
Economic Development Tools
Ensure that economic development incentives align with and support the community's sustainability goals. Policies can be created to make it more favorable for businesses to make environmentally-conscious decisions. This will encourage a healthy economy and environment.
- Redevelopment Ready Communities
- Redevelopment Ready Communities Supplemental Green Infrastructure Guide
- Managing Wet Weather with Green Infrastructure: Incentive Mechanisms
- Green Infrastructure Case Studies: Municipal Policies for Managing Stormwater with Green Infrastructure
Remediate and redevelop Brownfields, sites that are unused or underutilized because of contamination or the reasonable perception of contamination. Through strategic policies and incentives, brownfields can be revitalized to create economic opportunities for a community, minimize urban sprawl, and reduce environmental and human health hazards.
Increase local job opportunities in the sustainability sector to promote sustainable economic development in your municipality. This could include training relevant staff, such as public works, landscape, and building maintenance workers, in the principles of sustainability. Also implement green jobs initiatives which promote opportunity, equity, and collaboration on set policies and programs designed to increase sustainability.
- Green Jobs in Your Community
- Growing a Green Local Economy
- Cities and Clean Energy Workforce Development
Local and Sustainable Sourcing
Commit to purchasing local goods and services as much as possible to support the local economy and reduce environmental impacts. Through policy adoption and "buy local" campaigns, local spending can benefit small businesses and reduce transportation/shipping-related carbon emissions.
- Imlay City Buy Local Campaign
- City of Ann Arbor Environmentally Preferable Procurement
- City of Cleveland, OH Preference for Local Producers, Local- Food Purchasers, and Local Sustainable Businesses
- City of Maplewood, MN Environmental Purchasing Policy
Agriculture & Food Systems
Create an agriculture-friendly community through taking steps to actively support farms and farmers in your community. This might look like establishing zoning standards for chickens, beekeeping, and food growing areas in residential developments or supporting the preservation of farmland. Additionally, local governments can foster opportunities for farmer's market or co-op buying club, community-supported agriculture, and urban agriculture.
- Local Foods, Local Places Toolkit
- Sustainable Development Code Chapter 6.2: Food Security and Sovereignty
- Community Garden's Resource Library
- Establishing Land Use Protections for Community Gardens
- Farmland Preservation Program
Webinars & Workshops: