The Institute’s Sustainable Communities
programs help local officials identify and apply policies
and best practices that support sustainable communities — places
that foster and maintain a high quality of life for their
residents on an ongoing basis.
The Institute for Local Government’s Sustainability Best Practices Framework offers options for local action in ten areas. They are drawn from practical experiences of cities and counties throughout California. The options vary in complexity and are adaptable to fit the unique needs and circumstances of individual communities.
Local officials and staff may use the framework in a variety of ways, including to:
Generate ideas about programs and policies to pursue;
Inform a comprehensive climate action planning process; or
Integrate sustainability into general plan policies.
Download the entire Best Practices Framework or use the navigation on the left or below to access best practices, case stories and resources by best practice area.
For information related to greenhouse gas inventories, climate action planning and adapting to climate change, visit Planning for Climate Change.
The Institute for Local Government’s Healthy Neighborhoods Project provides support and resources to protect and improve community health by integrating health considerations into their planning, land use and other decisions.
The resources are geared to strengthen the efforts of local officials, staff, planning and development professionals, and community residents in creating healthier communities.
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.
The Institute has developed resource centers which delve more
deeply into several sustainability topics to offer information
and tools for local governments. Currently, there are five
resource centers on: SB 375, Commercial Recycling, Financing
Sustainability, Greening Agency Fleets and Insuring Kid’s
We invite you to visit each of the centers. Materials
featured include whitepapers, case stories, tip sheets,
publications, archived webinars, sample ordinances and other
resources. All of the materials are available for download
at no cost.
The Beacon Award: Local Leadership Toward Solving Climate Change, sponsored by the Institute for Local Government and the Statewide Energy Efficiency Collaborative, is a statewide program recognizing California cities and counties that are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save energy and adopt policies and programs that promote sustainability.
Participating in the voluntary Beacon Award program provides local agencies and their leaders with positive recognition for saving energy, conserving resources, promoting sustainability and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It lets them shine a bright light on their accomplishments for their residents, colleagues and others.
The Sustainable Communities Learning Network helps local officials and staff to access and share resources and tools that encourage their communities to consider and apply economically, socially and environmentally sustainable practices.
The Learning Network:
Facilitates peer-to-peer learning, sharing of real-world examples between local officials and others engaged in sustainability efforts
The LinkedInTM group is a place for local government sustainability practitioners to connect, exchange information, discuss best practices, and seek feedback on project ideas directly from their peers.