Policy Choices

Much of the progress we see in our communities and the built environment around us results from very intentional planning at the local government level. This section will present some of the policy choices our local governments face, and the different development tools available to create quality, attractive communities that provide residents with the best possible quality of living.

Energy Efficiency and Green Building

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)
Widely used rating system sponsored by the U.S. Green Building Council for new construction, existing buildings, and other types of construction

International Green Construction Code (IGCC)
New model code initiative addressing green building design and performance sponsored by the International Code Council – the organization primarily responsible for developing building codes nationwide

Energy Star
Joint program from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy to establish guidelines for energy efficient consumer products

Eco-Cool Remodel Tool
Interactive program to assist homeowners and builders in implementing green remodeling strategies sponsored by King County, Washington


Food Systems

Greater Kansas City Food Policy Coalition
Alliance of individuals, organizations, businesses, and government representatives representing all critical components of Kansas City's local food system

Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture
Non-profit organization that acts as a catalyst for the production and consumption of locally grown food in Kansas City neighborhoods

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Alternative Farming Systems Information Center
Specializes in identifying resources about sustainable food systems and practices in support of USDA's effort to ensure a sustainable future for agriculture and farmers



Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) Housing + Affordability Index
Calculates housing and transportation costs as an affordability index by location

Minneapolis Family Housing Fund
Nonprofit organization in the Twin Cities that has numerous successful examples of regional affordable housing policies in a Midwestern, large city context


Mixed-Use Development

American Planning Association (APA) Model Mixed Use Zoning District Ordinance
Provides a template for communities looking to draft mixed use zoning ordinances in their zoning codes

Congress for New Urbanism
National non-profit organization promoting walkable, mixed-use neighborhood development, sustainable communities and healthier living conditions including resources for local governments


Natural Resources Conservation

Mid America Regional Council Natural Resources Inventory
Database of valuable natural resources in the Kansas City region to assist environmental planning at regional and local levels

Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) Stormwater Management Calculator
Interactive life cycle cost analysis tool for infrastructure comparing conventional and "green intervention" methods



National Complete Streets Coalition
National organization devoted to advocacy towards roadways designed for all users, including a model policy for local governments

Tacoma, Washington Complete Streets Design Guidelines Project
Includes street design guidelines to implement complete streets policies

Sacramento Best Practices for Complete Streets
Report by the Sacramento Transportation and Air Quality Collaborative summarizing the benefits of complete streets and recommendations for policies and regulations

Huntington Beach Corridor Plan
Incorporates street design standards and development regulations linked to varying characteristics of street segments along the Beach and Edinger corridor in Huntington Beach, California


Zoning and Development: Policies and Regulations

Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute Sustainable Community Development Code
Comprehensive, categorized framework to assist local governments to implement sustainability into development code updates – from mixed use to natural resource protection

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Neighborhood Development (LEED ND)
New rating system sponsored by the U.S. Green Building Council using the LEED building framework, but instead focusing on development patterns

Salt Lake City Sustainable City Code Initiative
Salt Lake City is in the process of a comprehensive overhaul of its zoning and subdivision ordinances to implement sustainability principles

Local Government Commission
Organization with extensive resources for implementing sustainable land use policies and regulations by category – from community design to healthy communities