Friday, July 16, 2010

“Common Sense Stuff": Administration Talks Sustainability

Leaders from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Transportation, sat down at the White House yesterday for a live chat on their interagency partnership for sustainable communities. The participants offered a coordinated, big picture look at some of the nation’s most timely challenges.

The interagency partnership signals the new, exciting approach the government is taking to housing, transportation and livability issues. Each of the agencies at the chat expressed a desire to broaden the way Americans think about these issues. The term picking up speed lately is “livability” – and it puts the ideas of convenience, sustainability, safety, and affordability under one tent. 

As they work to broaden the perspective on housing and transportation, the agencies also spoke of their efforts to make it easier for cities and states to implement solutions. HUD, for example, has implemented a simple but inventive “points system” that rewards leaders in sustainable planning, while encouraging others to step up their game.

Overall, the event was a refreshing bit of what the moderator called “Common sense stuff,” the government matching big problems with big ideas.

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