Cities and counties can have an enormous impact in shaping the
physical environment of neighborhoods and the health and
well-being of their residents. The Land Use and Environment
component of the Sustainability program provides resources to
support local officials in their efforts to plan and develop
healthy communities that are socially, economically,
environmentally and fiscally sustainable.
Learn about land use from Institute volunteer and former agency
counsel, Michael Martello. These videos capture a range of
topics, including non-conforming land use, general plans,
permits, variances and land use findings.
Land use planning decisions involve technical
terminology that many are unfamiliar with. To help local
officials and others to understand the technical language used in
land use planning, the Institute has developed a series of
plain-language descriptions of common land use decisions.
Public engagement processes are often forums for very deeply held concerns. In some cases, public engagement participants will have very strongly held views about the topics to be discussed; the local (or regional) agency and officials involved; and/or the public engagement process itself.
Local officials are responsible for overseeing the planning and
development of their communities. The Institute offers resources
to help elected officials, planning commissioners, staff members,
and the public understand the basic elements of local planning in
The general plan is one of the most important guiding documents
that a community has. Keeping the general plan up to date
and consistent with the community’s goals can guide new
development and help meet state requirements. Access
resources to help your community update its general plan.
Engaging your community in the planning process is often vital to
the success of a project. Various resources to support
effective public participation and engaging your community in
planning, housing and economic development are available from
ILG’s Public Engagement program.
Ensuring that all current and future members of a community have
access to housing is an important part of planning. A well
planned community offers residents a range of affordable and
convenient housing choices. Access resources and case stories