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Boston in the spring      

IEc has worked with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), state, local, and international agencies on projects to inform land use policy and support sustainable communities for over ten years. Concerns about the economic, environmental, and social costs of sprawling development have sparked debate over how and where growth should take place. Increasingly, communities seek approaches to growth that increase economic opportunity, improve quality of life, conserve open space, and protect the environment. IEc staff have a deep understanding of land-use issues and policy approaches, which is informed by a decade of evaluating policy options and developing smart growth analyses, tools, and communication materials.

Recent projects include:

  • Conducting an extensive review of local planning policies and zoning codes (including interviews with local, state, and federal officials) to identify barriers to desired growth patterns;
  • Supporting a planning and design charette with local stakeholder groups to identify land-use priorities and concerns, and to develop potential policy and planning solutions to facilitate a shift to more compact development;
  • Researching the feasibility of integrating indicators of sustainable communities (e.g., walkability, proximity to amenities, transportation costs) into real estate listing databases;
  • Developing peer-reviewed indicators of age-sensitive community design and suburban redesign and retrofit, including measures of walkability, access to services, public transportation, affordable housing options, safety, and community engagement;
  • Assessing the smart growth benefits of brownfields redevelopment projects.
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Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Research Highlight: Community Indicators for an Aging Population.
>   Neal Etre