Table of Contents | Appendix B
Definitions and Principles of Sustainable Communities
This appendix includes examples of sustainable communities principles
as adopted by organizations and groups and within municipalities of the
United States. The purpose of their presentation in this report is for
informational intent only and should not be construed as endorsement by
the Sustainable Communities Task Force or the President’s Council on Sustainable
Elements of a Sustainable Community, Institute for Sustainable
The Awahnee Principles, Local Government Commission
Principles of Environmental Justice, First National People of Color
Environmental Leadership Summit
Principles of Sustainable Community Development, Burlington, Vermont
Charter of Sustainability, New Pattonsburg, Missouri
Elements of a Sustainable Community
Institute for Sustainable Communities
1. Satisfaction of basic human needs for clean air and water
and nutritious, uncontaminated food.
2. Protection and enhancement of local and regional ecosystems
and biological diversity.
3. Conservation of water, land, energy, and nonrenewable resources,
including maximum feasible reduction recovery, and reuse and recycling
4. Utilization of prevention strategies and appropriate technology
to minimize pollution emissions.
5. Use of renewable resources no further than their rate of
Empowerment and Responsibility
1. A diverse and financially viable economic base.
2. Reinvestment of resources in local economy.
3. Maximization of local ownership of businesses.
4. Meaningful employment opportunities for all citizens.
5.Provision of job training and education to help the workforce adjust
to future needs.
1. Equal opportunity for all individuals to participate in and influence
decisions that affect each of their lives.
2.Adequate access to public information.
3. A viable, nongovernmental sector.
4. An atmosphere of respect and tolerance for diverse viewpoints, beliefs,
5. Encourages individuals of all ages, gender, ethnicity, religions,
and physical ability to take responsibility based upon a shared vision.
6. Political stability.
7. Does not compromise the sustainability of other communities.
The Ahwahnee Principles
1. A reliable food supply that optimizes local production.
2. Adequate health services, safe and healthy housing, and high quality
education for all members of the community.
3. Maintains a place that is safe from crime and aggression.
4. Fosters a community spirit that creates a sense of belonging, a
sense of place, and a sense of self-worth.
5. Stimulation of creative expression through the arts.
6. Protection and enhancement of public spaces and historic resources.
7. Provision for a healthy work environment.
8. Adaptability to changing circumstances and conditions.
This listing was developed by the board of the Institute for Sustainable
For more information, contact ISC, 56 College Street, Montepelier,
VT 05602-3115, 802 229 2900, fx 802 229 2919, email <email@example.com>.
Existing patterns of urban and suburban development seriously impair
our quality of life. The symptoms are: more congestion and air pollution
resulting from our increased dependence on automobiles, the loss of precious
open space, the need for costly improvements to roads and public services,
the inequitable distribution of economic resources, and the loss of a sense
of community. By drawing upon the best from the past and the present we
can first, infill existing communities, and second, plan new communities
that will more successfully serve the needs of those who live and work
within them. Such planning should adhere to these fundamental principles.
1. All planning should be in the form of complete and integrated communities
containing housing, shops, work places, schools, parks and civic facilities
essential to the daily life of the residents.
2. Community size should be designed so that housing, jobs, daily needs
and other activities are within easy walking distance of each other.
3. As many activities as possible should be located within easy walking
distance of transit stops.
4. A community should contain a diversity of housing types to enable
citizens from a wide range of economic levels and age groups to live within
5. Businesses within the community should provide a range of job types
for the community’s residents.
6. The location and character of the community should be consistent
with a larger network.
7. The community should have a center focus that combines commercial,
civic, cultural and recreational uses.
8. The community should contain an ample supply of specialized open
space in the form of squares, greens and parks whose frequent use is encouraged
through placement and design.
9. Public spaces should be designed to encourage the attention and
presence of people at all hours of the day and night.
10. Each community or cluster of communities should have a well defined
edge, such as agricultural greenbelts or wildlife corridors, permanently
protected from development.
11. Streets, pedestrian paths and bike paths should contribute to a
system of fully-connected and interesting routes to all destinations. Their
design should encourage pedestrian and bicycle use by being small and spatially
designed by buildings, trees and lighting; and by discouraging high speed
12. Wherever possible, the natural terrain, drainage, and vegetation
of the community should be preserved with superior examples contained within
parks or greenbelts.
13. The community design should help conserve resources and minimize
14. Communities should provide for the efficient use of water through
the use of natural drainage, drought tolerant landscaping and recycling.
15. The street orientation, the placement of buildings and the use
of shading should contribute to the energy efficiency of the community.
The Awahnee Principles were drafted by Peter Calthorpe, Michael Corbett,
Andres Duany, Elizabeth Moule, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, and Stefanos Polyzoides,
architects who have been leaders in developing new notions of land use
For further information, contact: Center for Livable Communities c/o
Local Government Commission, 1414 K Street, Suite 250, Sacramento, CA 95814,
916 448 1198, fx 916 448 8246.
Principles of Environmental Justice
These principles were adopted by the delegates to the First National People
of Color Environmental Leaderships Summit held in Washington, DC, on October
Principles of Sustainable Community Development
1. Environmental justice affirms the sacredness of Mother Earth, ecological
unity and the interdependence of all species, and the right to be free
from ecological destruction.
2. Environmental justice demands that public policy be based on mutual
respect and justice for all peoples, free from any form of discrimination
3. Environmental justice mandates the right to ethical, balanced and
responsible uses of land and renewable resources in the interest of a sustainable
planet for humans and other living things.
4. Environmental justice calls for universal protection from nuclear
testing and the extraction, production and disposal of toxic/hazardous
wastes and poisons that threaten the fundamental right to clean air, land,
water, and food.
5. Environmental justice affirms the fundamental right to political,
economic, cultural, and environmental self-determination of all peoples.
6. Environmental justice demands the cessation of the production of
all toxins, hazardous wastes, and radioactive materials, and that all past
and current producers be held strictly accountable to the people for detoxification
and the containment at the points of production.
7. Environmental justice demands the right to participate as equal partners
at every level of decision-making including needs assessment, planning,
implementation, enforcement and evaluation.
8. Environmental justice affirms the right of all workers to a safe
and healthy work environment, without being forced to choose between an
unsafe livelihood and unemployment. It also affirms the right of those
who work at home to be free from environmental hazards.
9. Environmental justice protects the right of victims of environmental
injustice to receive full compensation and reparations for damages as well
as quality health care.
10. Environmental justice considers governmental acts of environmental
injustice a violation of international law, the Universal Declaration On
Human Rights, and the United Nations Convention on Genocide.
11. Environmental justice must recognize a special legal and natural
relationship of Native Peoples to the U.S. government through treaties,
agreements, compacts, and covenants affirming sovereignty and self-determination.
12. Environmental justice affirms the need for urban and rural ecological
policies to clean up and rebuild our cities and rural areas in balance
with nature, honoring the cultural integrity of all our communities, and
providing fair access for all to the full range of resources.
13. Environmental justice calls for the strict enforcement of principles
of informed consent, and a halt to the testing of experimental reproductive
and medical procedures and vaccinations on people of color.
14. Environmental justice opposes the destructive operations of multi-national
15. Environmental justice opposes military occupation, repression and
exploitation of lands, peoples and cultures, and other life forms.
16. Environmental justice calls for the education of present and future
generations which emphasizes social and environmental issues, based on
our experience and an appreciation of our diverse cultural perspectives.
17. Environmental justice requires that we, as individuals, make personal
and consumer choices to consume as little of Mother Earth’s resources and
to produce as little waste as possible; and make the conscious decision
to challenge and reprioritize our lifestyles to insure the health of the
natural world for present and future generations.
In Burlington, decisionmakers have embraced six principles of sustainable
community development. They are:
1. Encourage economic self-sufficiency through local ownership and the
maximum use of local resources;
For further information, contact the Office of the Mayor, Peter Clavelle,
City Hall, Room 34, Burlington, VT 05401, 802 865 7272, fx 802 865 7024.
2. Equalize the benefits and burdens of growth;
3. Leverage and recycle scarce public funds;
4. Protect and preserve fragile environmental resources;
5. Ensure full participation by populations normally excluded from the
political and economic mainstream; and
6. Nurture a robust "third sector" of private, non-profit organizations
capable of working in concert with government to deliver essential goods
Charter of Sustainability
New Pattonsburg, Missouri
In accord with the decision to ensure our community’s future by its
relocation from the flood plain, we, the elected officials and contracted
development professionals of Pattonsburg, Missouri, agree to uphold the
following principles of sustainability. In doing so, we recognize our responsibility
to the plan for the needs of the present generation without compromising
the ability of future generations to meet theirs. In good faith with the
agencies and organizations supporting our relocation and redevelopment,
we will strive to achieve these accepted objectives of sustainability in
the areas of economics, ecology, and community process. Adopted December
8, 1994.Objectives for a Sustainable EconomyTo build a sustainable and
sustaining economic system, providing equitably for our materials needs
and the needs of future generations, we agree to:
• Encourage local ownership by building skills and encouraging
In considering distant ownership, seek business people who have demonstrated
good citizenship in their local communities;
• Build local capacity to support financing of sustainable economic
• Consider the full environmental and social impacts of economic decisions;
• Encourage ecologically sensitive businesses;
• Encourage and give priority to businesses that add to the economic
value of regional agricultural and other resources, instead of exporting
unprocessed resources to be developed elsewhere;
• Capitalize on the economic opportunity presented by New Pattonsburg’s
proximity to an interstate highway, both as a connection to the transportation
network and as a provider of access for new consumers to New Pattonsburg’s
Objectives for a Sustainable Ecology
To build a sustainable and sustaining ecological system, providing equitably
for a thriving human and natural community for ourselves and for future
generations, we agree to:
• Preserve the character and health of our natural environment,
using and reusing the materials, energy and water we need as efficiently
as possible and eliminating waste;
• Utilize clean, renewable resources extracted and processed within
the community whenever possible;
• Preserve and expand the choices of present and future members of
our community, providing information and design alternatives that encourage
use of sustainable resources, technologies and methods suitable for our
environment and culture.
Objectives for a Sustainable Community Process
To build a sustainable and sustaining process that empowers all community
members to participate in determining their present and future quality
of life, we agree to:
• Provide full, accessible information and education on issues
that affect the community to all members, including our children;
• Sponsor community gatherings, community based committees and other
forums that solicit ideas and convictions of the people, encourage the
exchange and development of new ideas and promote full and diverse participation
in decision making;
• Seek concensus within the community to guide the work of leaders
and professionals charged with the responsibility of implementing community
For more information, contact Christopher Kelsey, BNIM Architects,
One Kansas City Place, 1200 Main Street, Suite 1515, Kansas City, MO 64105.