The fundamental values of sustainability include balancing the social, economic, and environmental needs. Sustainable planning is all about meeting the needs of your community now while making sure that the future needs of your community are not jeopardized. It is a systems-based approach that incorporates many elements to avoid narrowly focused decision-making, wasted resources, missed opportunities, and reduced overall health and quality of life for communities. Sustainable community development works to integrate the following:
- land use
- sound fiscal planning
- transportation and mobility
- economic development and downtown revitalization
- affordable housing
- historic and cultural preservation
- public health and human services
- educational opportunities and job training
- natural resource conservation
- job creation
- environmental quality
- food systems and policy
- energy efficiency and renewables
- community identity and sense of place
- natural hazards and mitigation
Sample Sustainability Plans
Some communities and regions in Colorado have adopted Sustainability Plans or integrated sustainability into their comprehensive plans. These long-range plans are aimed at guiding the community by balancing social equity, environmental, and economic conditions while tying together the community's goals, strategies, and implementation actions. A sustainability plan may include elements such as energy-efficiency, land use, transportation, public health, renewable energy, economic development, and more. When integrated, these elements help to improve the community's quality of life for generations to come. (Note: The following sample plan descriptions are not meant to be a judgement of quality nor a comprehensive description.)
Sustainable Adams County 2030 Plan
This plan identifies 16 measurable goals related to sustainability within county operations, including reductions in energy use, water consumption, and waste, and improvements in services.
The Sustain Arvada Plan has two primary components: the Municipal Action Plan (2010) and the Community Plan (2012). The Municipal Plan focuses primarily on internal city practices and the Community Plan focuses on aspects of sustainability that relate to the entire community.
Durango Municipal City Action Plan
This plan focuses on incorporating sustainability into city’s internal operations.
Plan Fort Collins
Plan Fort Collins is an example of a Comprehensive Plan with sustainability integrated.
Fraser Sustainability Plan
This plan focuses on greenhouse gas emission reduction in the commercial and residential sectors.
Lakewood Sustainability Plan
The City of Lakewood Sustainability Plan was developed in the same time period as the update to their Comprehensive Plan. It is a very detailed document that sets out goals for climate change adaptation, zero waste, etc. Additionally there are sections on how the strategies for sustainability will benefit their community while also assessing feasibility.
Nederland Sustainability Action Plan
NedSustainable is an action plan for the Town of Nederland that integrates the sustainability components of several planning documents.