David Abell
3 minute read

Join a webinar on planning for sustainable, equitable and resilient communities.

On Oct. 9, join USGBC and partner the American Planning Association (APA) as we connect via webinar with local leaders from the City of Baltimore, City of Las Vegas, and Los Angeles County to learn more about their recent planning processes.

"Leadership in Planning" webinar

What: Representatives will share insights into their recent planning efforts. The webinar will be moderated by Petra Hurtado, Research Director for APA.
When: Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2 p.m. EDT

Local governments are taking their planning efforts to the next level by weaving in social equity and resilience, incorporating aspirational yet actionable goals around energy and carbon, and engaging diverse community stakeholders in new ways. Integrating an established framework like LEED for Cities and Communities into the process provides common standards for improving sustainability, plus the ability to track progress over time.

Recent planning efforts in the City of Baltimore, City of Las Vegas and Los Angeles County provide excellent lessons in how this is being done.

Baltimore: Building a comprehensive approach

Baltimore adopted its first sustainability plan in 2009. “As we worked toward implementing that first plan, we came to realize that our plan did not include specific actions related to climate change mitigation and resilience,” says Amy Gilder-Busatti, Landscape Architect and Environmental Planner with the city.

Through certifying in the STAR Community Rating System (which was integrated into LEED for Cities and Communities in 2018) in 2015, Baltimore leaders gained familiarity with a comprehensive approach to sustainability and how to assess issues like resilience and equity. These lessons helped shape the 2019 Sustainability Plan.

“We were much more intentional about using an equity lens in our approach to creating the new plan, which influenced our methods of outreach, the writing of the plan and establishment of measures of success,” says Gilder-Busatti, “As we implement the plan, we have a section on 'Guidance for Equitable Implementation' to help guide and evaluate the actions we take as we implement the plan.”

Las Vegas

In Las Vegas, the city is pursuing LEED for Cities certification while concurrently working on a new 2050 Master Plan.

“LEED for Cities is an excellent way to inform plan creation and implementation because of how well it fits into the planning process," says Marco Velotta, Senior Management Analyst in the city’s Planning Department. "Our community has chosen to align directly with the metrics because the problems and needs are clearly articulated, goals can be directly tied to LEED metrics and performance criteria, and an evaluation mechanism is built in,” Velotta explained.

By using the LEED for Cities and Communities framework to align and track progress, Las Vegas planners can then identify specific strategies that will meet local needs to address issues and achieve progress.

Los Angeles County

Los Angeles County recently adopted its most ambitious sustainability plan to address climate change, inequality, resilience and much more, in the OurCounty Sustainability Plan.

“Largely, the sustainability plan targets reflect conversations with stakeholders across the region. Our housing targets, for example, are quite ambitious and reflect the fact that we heard overwhelmingly that housing affordability is a top issue across Los Angeles,” says Kristen Torres Pawling, Sustainability Program Director with the county.

L.A. County engaged thousands of citizens and organizations in the development of the plan, to incorporate as many views as possible from the region. Common frameworks helped the county structure the plan. “So many thought leaders and cities have gone through the planning process before, so using an established framework like LEED for Cities and Communities can help planners build off experience of those who have gone through the process before,” says Torres Pawling.

Hear more from these city leaders about their strategies and lessons learned by joining USGBC in the webinar.

Register for the webinar