Citizens and government officials must work together to find a variety of new approaches and ways of doing business that support community goals. This section presents approaches and techniques that different communities have employed to make constructive use of local government policies and services to promote community sustainability.
Policies, Ordinances and Taxes
Public policies developed with active citizen participation can promote sustainability. Local ordinances and tax structures provide the carrot and stick to guide development and other activities that may impact the community. In this section, examples of these tools — public policy, ordinances, and taxes — illustrate how they can be used.
Local governments provide a range of services, including public education, health care, social services, libraries, and recreational facilities. In a sustainable community these services are enhanced and function as effectively and efficiently as possible for all community members. This section explores innovative approaches and citizen involvement in these areas.
Waste and Toxics Management
In nature, waste does not exist. In human societies, waste is everywhere, which indicates inefficiency. Waste can also harm human health and degrade the environment. Businesses find that waste reduction can "green" their bottom line. Local governments can use what is saved for other public purposes. In this section, practical approaches to waste reduction and elimination are presented.
There has been a growing awareness that public/private partnerships can benefit sustainable community development. Local governments can cooperate with for-profit and nonprofit institutions to redevelop neighborhoods, rehabilitate housing, and work on other community initiatives. Examples of creative partnerships, financing, and planning for community improvements are given in this section.
Community, Regional, State and Federal Relations
In the past, different government jurisdictions have conflicted over such policies as land use, watershed treatment, transportation, and taxation. This often impeded solutions to community problems. Now more communities are cooperating with neighbors or a larger regional body to solve common problems. This section contains some examples.