Sustainable Communities Toolkit
These resources will provide information that can help you create, manage and maintain a sustainable community.
Stormwater Management and Water Quality
- Mass Audubon’s Rain Garden brochure (PDF 390K)
Describes how to reduce stormwater volume from your property by building a “Rain Garden” to collect roof runoff, enhance your landscaping, and infiltrate to groundwater.
- Mass DEP
Water Wastewater and Wetlands, Policies and Guidance documents. Includes:
Upcoming Stormwater Educational Events and Seminars
- Erosion and Sedimentation Control Guidelines: a guide for planners, designers, and municipal officials
- Stormwater Best Management Practice Demonstration
- Massachusetts Stormwater Handbook
- Blackstone River Coalition
- Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management
“StormSmart Coasts,” A program designed to help coastal communities address the challenges arising from storms, floods, sea level rise, and climate change. Provides a menu of tools for successful coastal floodplain management.
Community Guide to Growing Greener
This practical guidelines, from the Massachusetts Watershed Coalition, explain how low impact practices and better site design will help communities grow greener and fix stormwater problems. Its information is easy to understand and apply for many types of development projects.
- University of New Hampshire Stormwater Center
The UNH Stormwater Center is a research, testing and educational facility which serves as a technical resource for water managers, planners, and design engineers in New England and throughout the United States.
US EPA, Green Infrastructure Website
The EPA's Green Infrastructure website was launched in spring 2012, and is a fantastic resource. Information includes grants and funding sources, education and training resources, and many thorough case studies.
Community Planning and Smart Growth
- EEA* Smart Growth Case Studies and Model Bylaws
EEA’s Smart Growth / Smart Energy toolkit has great case studies, slideshows and model bylaws for a number of different sustainable planning tools and techniques, including:
- Low Impact Development (LID)
- Inclusionary Zoning
- Agricultural Preservation
- Transfer of Development Rights
- Transit Oriented Development
- and much more.
- American Planning Association
- Natural Lands Trust, Inc.
Growing Greener (1997) (PDF). A booklet of methods for municipalities to use to protect interconnected networks of open space, and ensure that their conservation goals are achieved in a manner fair to all parties. Describes amendments to municipal comprehensive plans, zoning ordinances, and subdivision ordnances.
- Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED), Division of Community Services
- The Division of Community Services builds the capacity of individuals and strengthens communities through a comprehensive and integrated service delivery approach. This page includes many resources for community development, including
“A Guide to State Development Resources”
“Citizen Planner Training Collaborative”, and
information on a “Peer-to-Peer Technical Assistance Program”
- EOHED’s Smart Growth Initiatives
- ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability
STAR Community Index. A national, consensus-based framework for gauging the sustainability and livability of U.S. communities, helping local governments set priorities and implement policies and practices to improve their sustainability performance.
- Green Neighborhoods Alliance
Mass Audubon is a founding member of the Green Neighborhoods Alliance, a group of planners, environmentalists, state and municipal officials, lawyers and real estate agents who joined together to promote Open Space Residential Design (OSRD), a method of residential development that conserves open space in new subdivisions. The Green Neighborhoods website has a wealth of information on OSRD, including model bylaws and regulations and case studies.
- The Green Infrastructure Approach to Community Planning
The Green Infrastructure approach to community planning states that just as a community has a 'Grey Infrastructure', it has a 'Green Infrastructure' -- that is just as important to the community's healthy functioning. The Green Infrastructure approach takes a community's green and open spaces (parks, playgrounds, forests, farms, wetlands....etc.), and looks at the ways in which they work together to provide the community with a suite of benefits -- from cleaning the air and water, to providing habitat for local wildlife, and places for residents to recreate and play. In this Letter to the Editor in ArchitectureBoston, Jack Clarke, Mass Audubon’s Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy, makes the case for Green Infrastructure planning. (Winter, 2009) (PDF 124K).
- Planning for Sustainable Growth Along 495
495 MetroWest Development Compact. Mass Audubon’s Shaping the Future program is partnering with the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, the MetroWest Regional Collaborative and the 495/MetroWest Partnership, in a development compact study for the 495 / MetroWest region. This Compact will create a shared framework for state, regional, and local strategies for sustainable growth and development in the study region.
- Mass Audubon climate change resources
- Green Communities Act and Grant Program
- Created in 2008 by the Green Communities Act, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs established a Green Communities Division, an agency whose charge is to guide all Massachusetts municipalities along a path of enhanced energy efficiency and renewable energy. The Green Communities Division helps cities and towns maximize energy efficiency in public buildings, including schools, city halls, and public works and public safety buildings; generate clean energy from renewable sources; and manage rising energy costs.
- The Green Communities Grant Program, an initiative of the Green Communities Division, provides funding to help municipalities pursue energy efficiency measures, large renewable energy projects, and innovative methods that use less fossil fuel. Cities and towns can apply for the Grant Program after they have demonstrated that they have met the following five criteria and have been officially designated as a “Green Community.”
- Project for Public Spaces
A non-profit organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public places that build communities.
- Place Matters
An organization supporting the creation and maintenance of sustainable and vibrant communities and regions through the application of innovative decision making tools and methods.
- Sustainable Communities Network
“Placemaking: Tools for Community Action” (PDF)
* Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs