Asset-Based Economic Development and Building Sustainable Rural Communities --With support from the National Association of Development Organizations through a contract with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, ICMA has created three new briefing papers on asset based economic development and building sustainable rural communities. The first is focused on industry and industry clusters, with part two examining natural resources and amenities, and part three focused on existing infrastructure, and historic and cultural resources.
Creating more sustainable, livable and resilient communities is at the heart of local government leadership and management. ICMA's Center for Sustainable Communities was created to provide leading practice research; training, education, and technical assistance; and communication about sustainability for local government professionals and stakeholders. The center accomplishes this mission by working with a variety of partners, including federal agencies, foundations, private firms, academia and issue-oriented non-profit organizations.
The Center for Sustainable Communities frequently leverages ICMA's Survey Research capabilities to betterunderstand local government policies, programs, partnerships and performance measures on topics related to more sustainable and resilient communties. Recent surveys conducted by ICMA have focused on sustainability policies and programs; solar energy zoning, planning permitting, inspection, and financing programs; local food systems; 311 and local government customer service systems; aging in America; and more. Working together with researchers from Arizona State University and with support from the IBM Center for the Business of Government, ICMA produced the publication Breaking New Ground: Promoting Environmental and Energy Programs in Local Government. Additionally, ICMA research also produces best practice publications and case studies such as Putting Smart Growth to Work in Rural Communities.
Training, Education, and technical assistance
The Center for Sustainable Communities leads ICMA's training, education, and technical assistance efforts on issues as the nexus of sustainability and local govenments. In partnership with federal agencies and other organizations the Center manages training events such as the National Brownfields Conference (EPA) and Sunshot Solar Outreach workshops (DOE) and provides sustainability content for other ICMA forums such as the association's Annual Conference, and ICMA University's web workshops and conferences.
In collaboration with internal and external partners, the Center helps bring together professionals for peer to peer exchanges on topics related to sustainability. The Sustainable Communities Fellowship Program was funded by the U.S. Department of State and has led to a second round of funding for new exchanges on civic engagement and community resiliency.
The Center for Sustainable Communities provides a steady stream of information for local government managers through a variety of communication channels. In partnership with EPA, ICMA operates the Local Government Environmental Assistance Network (LGEAN), a online network providing news and information about environmental management. The Center takes the lead on multiple Knowledge Network topic pages and moderates the recently launched Sustainable Communities blog in order to showcase creative ideas from around the country and the world.
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