ICMA Program Centers / Sustainable Communities / Projects


The Center for Sustainable Communities conducts research and provides leading practice training and technical assistance for local government stakeholders.

Data & Technology

  • #LocalGov Technology AllianceThe #LocalGov Technology Alliance is an Esri-ICMA initiative to explore the world of big data, open data, apps and dashboards, and what it all means for local governments.
  • GIS Guide for Elected Officials: An Esri-ICMA publication -- edited by ICMA staffer, Cory Fleming -- helps executives and elected officials learn how GIS technology is being used by governments across North America.
  • 311/CRM Consulting Services: Through its 2006 - 2011 National Study of 311 and Customer Service Technology, ICMA has established itself as a key research organization and national thought leader on the benefits of centralized customer service systems for local governments. As part of the study, ICMA has worked with communities across the U.S. to identify leading practices in establishing 311/CRM systems since 2006. 

Economic Development

  • SC2 National Resource NetworkICMA is part of a consortium leading a $10 million, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development effort to partner with cities that are rounding the corner from major economic challenges to help them identify and implement practical solutions to facilitate their paths to economic recovery and growth. The Network provides technical assistance, access to peer networks, and online, on-demand access to expertise. 
  • National Brownfields ConferenceThe National Brownfields Conference is one of the largest educational events sponsored by the U.S. EPA, attracting over 6,000 participants and featuring over 100 dynamic educational sessions, networking and business development opportunities, mobile workshops, walking tours, and volunteer activities to see redevelopment at ground level
  • Choice Neighborhoods: Evaluating the role of local government and project stakeholder engagement in choice neighborhood transformation. 
  • Asset-based Economic Development Resources and projects focused on encouraging economic growth within communities. Issue briefs, podcasts, and webinars. 
  • Smart GrowthThis report  focuses on smart growth strategies that can help guide growth in rural areas while protecting natural and working lands and preserving the rural character of existing communities. 

Energy & Environment

  • SunShot Solar Outreach PartnershipICMA, in partnership with The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability USA, is working to increase the use and integration of solar energy technologies in communities across the country through the SunShot Solar Outreach Partnership (SolarOPs).
  • ENERGY STAR & Local GovernmentsTo support broader marketing efforts by The CADMUS Group, ICMA provides resources to local governments on best-practices, news, and other content on the EPA's ENERGY STAR Program that helps local governments, businesses, and residents save money and protect our climate through superior energy efficiency.
  • LGEANThe U.S. EPA-sponsored Local Government Environmental Assistance Network (LGEAN) provides a one-stop shop for environmental compliance and environmental management information needed by local government practitioners.


  • Water Rate Approval Process Research: Through funding from the Water Research Foundation, ICMA is involved in a research project with ARCADIS that seeks to develop a communication strategy and toolkit to help utilities gain support during rate and budget approval process.
  • Stark County Shared Services Feasibility StudyICMA worked with the Institute for Building and Technology Safety (IBTS) to provide research for IBTS's Building Department Shared Services Feasibility Study project for the Stark County Ohio Regional Planning Commission.
  • IBTS/MARC Shared Building Department Services Case Study: ICMA’s Shared Building Department Services Case Study details an example of a public-nonprofit partnership provided by the non-profit organization, the Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS) through Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) for building department services to several Kansas and Missouri jurisdictions. 
  • National Study of Public Health Shared Administrative ServicesICMA's Center for Sustainable Communities has worked in partnership with the Center for Management Strategies and other experts to conduct research and share leading practices in sharing services across jurisdictions.

Social Equity/Community Development

  • HCTI - Healthy Communities Transformation InitiativeThrough a grant from U.S. HUD, ICMA works with Healthy Housing Solutions, Inc. on the Healthy Communities Transformation Initiative (HCTI). The HCTI was designed to improve the health systems and the physical, social, and economic service structures that support healthy living and healthy behaviors in our communities.
  • Needs Assessment of the Aging Population in Frederick County, MDIn 2012, the Board of County Commissioners selected JustPartners, Inc. (JPI), in partnership with the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), to undertake a needs assessment of the County’s aging population. The purpose of the assessment is to enable Frederick County to analyze and implement the most needed services and amenities to enhance independent lifestyles and services for older adults, support their families and caregivers, and promote aging in place initiatives.
  • Advancing Social Equity Goals to Achieve SustainabilityWith a two year grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, ICMA and Arizona State University studied local governments that have prioritized social equity strategies as part of their approach for creating more sustainable communities.
  • Maturing of AmericaBased on ICMA survey research, this report reveals that, at best, communities have managed to maintain the status quo for the past six years due to the Great Recession. The report, released by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a), also notes that important advances have been made despite these challenges; however, with millions of Baby Boomers reaching retirement age every month, these advancements are nowhere near the level of progress that has to be made to ensure that communities are livable for people of all ages.
  • Creating Communities for All Ages - EPA: This comprehensive blueprint, developed with input from ICMA, provides communities with detailed procedures and practical solutions in the areas of housing, planning and zoning, transportation, health and supportive services, public safety and civic engagement.

Sustainability Planning

  • CharMeck Community Sustainability Plan Feasibility StudyIn partnership with the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County (CharMeck), ICMA analyzed the feasibility of developing an inter-jurisdictional community sustainability plan in Mecklenburg County, NC. ICMA analyzed policy, organizational and financial solutions, and recommended potential models that would meet the specific needs and goals of CharMeck.
  • Local Food SystemsLocal governments are increasingly looking to programs and policies that support local and regional food systems with the goals of improving community health, supporting economic development, and creating new jobs. ICMA is leading efforts to benchmark efforts to-date, identify best practices, and disseminate practical resources to support new and existing local initiatives. 
  • Mecklenburg Livable Communities PlanICMA leads the consultant team developing the Mecklenburg Livable Communities Plan, a joint initiative between Mecklenburg County, the City of Charlotte, surrounding Towns, the Foundation for the Carolinas and community partners.
  • Sustainability in Small Towns & Rural PlacesThrough projects with the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO), the U.S. EPA, and others, ICMA provides technical assistance and knowledge resources to the small towns and rural communities that are engaged in regional sustainability planning.
  • Sustainability SurveyIn 2010, ICMA conducted a national survey of over 8,000 local governments across the nation about actions local government officials have taken to address the sustainability challenge. The accompanying report, Breaking New Ground, integrated analysis of case studies to develop recommended steps for local governments to take to increase sustainability.
  • Sustainable Communities FellowshipICMA facilitated international partnerships focused on climate change and sustainability at the local level under a grant from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State.


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