US Cities & Counties

Based on our review of plans and case studies, and guided by previous scholarly work (such as research by Maria ConroyPhilip Berke, and Kent Portney, among others), the Sustainability Planning Lab developed a baseline plan dissection template which was used to analyze and compare existing sustainability plans. Sustainability plans were evaluated for their structure and content, searching for patterns, common features, special elements and sections. Based on this research, students compiled 30 city plan profiles, which were then expanded upon and improved by researchers at the MI.

US Cities Sample Profiles

Asheville, NC

The Asheville Sustainability Management Plan is a municipal sustainability plan bringing together existing planning mandates and programs such as the comprehensive plan (Asheville City Development Plan 2025), as well as neighborhood plans, to fully address sustainable management issues.

The full sustainability plan profile of Asheville, NC, can be found here


Fort Collins, CO

The Fort Collins City Plan is a comprehensive sustainability plan melding several existing plans such as Climate Action and Transportation using binding principles such as transit-oriented development and urban agriculture. Comprising of 14 sections, it includes traditional comprehensive policy elements but also provides a roadmap for implementation of  sustainability concepts and of potential sustainability indicators.

The full sustainability plan profile of Fort Collins, CO, can be found here.


Grand Rapids, MI

The 2011-2015 Grand Rapids Plan is a sustainability policy plan grounded on the “triple bottom line” philosophy. Originally developed in 2005, it has since been revised to include specific language regarding climate change impacts and actions to help building community resilience. One of the strengths of the plan is its focus on environmental targets and its emphasis on protecting and improving the City’s natural assets.

The full sustainability plan profile of Grand Rapids, MI, can be found here.


Santa Monica, CA

The Santa Monica Sustainable City Plan is a policy plan founded on ten guiding principles providing the basis for sustainability decision-making. The document includes goals and strategies to conserve and enhance local resources, prevent harm to the natural environment and human health, and benefit the social and economic well-being of the community.

The full sustainability plan profile of Santa Monica, CA, can be found here.

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