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Division News

We made it! As of this month, the SCD LinkedIn platform boasts over 5,000 followers. You keep the conversations going, so take advantage of this great resource.

The APA Northern Section California Chapter is offering discounted registration to SCD members for an upcoming workshop--Urban Sustainability Assessment and Rating Tools – Gauging a Resilient & Prosperous Future-- being held in the San Francisco Bay area February 5. Click Get Tickets on the workshop registration page then use promo code Sustainability2016 to get the reduced $30 rate for SCD members.

And don’t miss out on another Division membership benefit -- free admission to Planning Webcast Series webinars! Earn CM credits and enjoy the latest in planning as part of an online national audience. See Upcoming Events below for January events.

Sustainability Tools, News, and Resources

It’s not too late for a few more “best of” posts. Treehugger presents The top 10 Urban Design stories of 2015. Several segments talk about about bicycling and associated infrastructure, but don’t miss out on these cool 'Vegetal Cities' that merge nature with the man-made (image above © Luc Schuiten) and on the infographic accompanying New studies measure the true cost of sprawl, and it's more than you think.

And another retrospective from FastCoExist presents a number of superb images demonstrating Redesigning Cities For Bikes, Not Cars: 2015 In Bicycles that will likely stick in your mind. Of course there’s Copenhagen's New Bike Bridge that Will Be The Craziest Bike Lane Ever Built, suspended over the water between two skyscrapers 200 feet in the air. Other more down-to-earth ideas include A Bicycle that Travels As Fast As A Car, So You Can Ride On Highways.

Government leaders from around the globe spoke to transport and land use innovations in their official statements from the recent Paris COP21 ConferencePlanetizen Blogger Todd Litman captures several as part of his recent post, Implications for Planning Emerge From COP21. Electric vehicles are a common theme.

Curious about how some Transit Oriented Development projects are being realized in Phoenix, site of the upcoming APA’s 2016 Annual Planning Conference? Check out the Sustainable Communities Collaborative, a non-profit partnership powered by a privately financed fund, serving as an economic catalyst for the cities connected to the Valley METRO light rail. Housing and healthcare are included in SCC’s recent accomplishments.

Interested in learning more about renewable energy installation on federally-assisted housing? HUD’s Renew300 initiative triples the federal renewable energy target set in the President’s Climate Action Plan, with a goal of reaching 300 megawatts of installed renewable energy capacity on federally assisted housing by 2020. The Housing Authority of the City and County of Denver (DHA) became one of the first public housing authorities in the country to install solar photovoltaic systems across an entire sector of their portfolio (Image).

Sounds like a win-win with Emerald Cities Seattle Demonstrating Sustainable Affordable Housing Through Energy Efficiency. As reported by KPLU, the Emerald Cities Collaborative (a nationwide organization) says the so-called RENEW program demonstrates sustainable solutions for non-profit developers who implement energy efficiency and water conservation. Efforts can yield $7,000 to $30,000 a year in savings, helping to keep rents at the fixed levels they need to be to be affordable. 3E’s infographic here.

Speaking of energy efficiency, the Register Guard reports as the Eugene Water & Electric Board tests microgrids in preparation for potential changes in how it serves customers. This pilot project in Eugene, OR will test how electricity generated from solar panels can keep vital systems operating longer if an emergency, such as an earthquake, cuts power to the area. The tests also provide insight into options for allowing  residents and businesses to generate their own power rather than purchasing it from the utility.


APA News & Webinars:

  • Call for presentations: ICLEI Resilient Cities 2016 conference.  Deadline January 16.
  • Great example of using video for "State of the City" report in Parker Colorado: YouTube

Other Feeds:

  • Planetizen’s Top Websites of 2015
  • How state and regional governments are driving climate action around the world: Climate Group
  • Oakland Eases Restrictions on Secondary Housing Units: East Bay Express
  • Tiny home suburbs coming soon to Colorado: Inhabitat
  • The city where citizens teach government employees how to run the government: Governing
  • The top legislative issues to watch in 2016: Governing
  • Five social trends to watch in 2016: Living Cities
  • 2016 New Year's transportation resolutions for cities: Next City
  • Congress Ups Parks Funding, Reauthorizes Land and Water Conservation Fund for 3 Years: APA
  • The Sun Industry: A look at utility-scale solar energy in central Arizona: Planning Magazine  
  • How do you read a zoning code? Draw a site plan? StrongTowns
  • Orderly, but dumb – why cities have to change their zoning codes: Granola Shotgun  
  • Study: Driverless cars to be 15% of global sales by 2030:  Detroit News
  • General Motors is investing $500 million in Lyft to develop self-driving cars: The Verge
  • The 10 most sustainable cities in the world (6 in Europe – zero in the U.S.): Fast Company
  • Low-tech Legos are a perfect city planning tool: Next City

From LinkedIn 

Upcoming Events

Webinars and Other Remote Events

APA National Capital Area Chapter

NEW! Municipal Sustainability Forum

NEW! Community Builders

NEW! American Planning Association, Colorado Chapter, Planning Webcast Series

Conferences, courses, and in-person events

NEW! Northern Section California Chapter - American Planning Association


Sustainable Cities Design Academy (SCDA) 2016 Call for Applications -- Join the American Architectural Foundation (AAF) for  a design workshop in Washington, DC, August 3-5, 2016. SCDA connects project teams and multidisciplinary sustainable design experts through highly interactive charrettes that help project teams advance their green infrastructure, financing, and community development goals. Past project partner participants include the nonprofit, Community Solutions, which brought the rehabilitation of the historic Swift Factory project to SCDA. United Technologies Corporation generously underwrites attendance costs. Apply by January 28, 2016.

Partners for Places Matching Grant Program -- In partnership with the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities (TFN) announces the opening of Round Eight of Partners for Places.  US and Canadian communities build partnerships between local government sustainability offices and place-based foundations. Application deadline: January 29, 2016.

Smart City Challenge -- The US Department of Transportation is sponsoring a $50 million award for creating the smart city of tomorrow. The first round of applications is due Feb. 4. Mid-sized cities with established transit systems and populations between approximately 200,000 and 850,000 are eligible.

Assistant Professor, Sustainability & Community Resilience -- Westfield State University’s Department of Geography and Regional Planning (GARP) in Westfield, MA is inviting applications for a tenure-track position in Sustainability and Community Resilience. Apply online, application review begins February 8, 2016.

Know of an opportunity (job, RFP, etc) of interest to the APA Sustainable Communities Division? Post it on LinkedIn or send it to!

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