Our cities and communities face an uncertain and daunting future. Diverse challenges, including an increasingly warmer and erratic climate, losses of biodiversity, disparities in economic equality, and state and federal hostility to local action, test the survival of many communities. Paralleling these challenges is an explosion of development that will rival post-World War II land use expansion. Yet most development codes are decades old and not prepared to confront today’s changes, and many local governments do not have the time or resources to research and address the myriad of changes and uncertainty they face.

The Sustainability Development Code (SDC) project provides concrete ways for communities to amend development codes and adapt to new challenges as they occur. The SDC aims to help all local governments, regardless of size and budget, build more resilient, environmentally conscious, economically secure and socially equitable communities. In tandem with the SDC project, this book arms local governments with a diversity of approaches to meet the climate change challenge, focusing on actions that are traditionally within local governments’ land use and development authority.

Imprint: Environmental Law Institute
Series: Environmental Law Institute
Publication Date: 03/09/2020
Related Subject(s): Environmental Law - Climate Change

Jonathan Rosenbloom, Vermont Law School


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“Cities are on the front lines of climate change, air pollution, traffic congestion, and other environmental problems, and they have essential roles in fighting all of them. This book will be an invaluable resource to cities seeking solutions that they can implement on their own, even without federal or state help. It has proven techniques, examples of where they have worked, and pointers to the implementing laws.”
—Michael B. Gerrard, Professor and Director, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School

“Whether you’re a local government official or a developer, this book provides tremendous tools for communities to create a more resilient, sustainable, and livable home. With 80% of the nation’s population, communities can achieve our common goals using this one-stop source.”
—Ralph Becker, Former Mayor, Salt Lake City, and Past President, National League of Cities

“This book gets to the heart of what American communities are actually doing to push landowners and developers toward more sustainable development, identifying old regulations that have been repealed, development incentives that have been redirected, and new laws that have been enacted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from private development. This is an important new resource for citizens, practitioners, and elected officials who want to get real about one of the most crucial planning issues of our time.”
—Donald L. Elliott, FAICP, Director at Clarion Associates LLC

“This book should serve as a trusted resource for anyone interested in cities because it offers best practices across the country—from Hartford to San Francisco—at the cutting edge of local government policy.”
—Sara C. Bronin, Chair, City of Hartford Planning & Zoning Commission, Law Professor, and Architect