Throughout much of the U.S., the overall lack of affordable housing combined with ongoing problems in addressing older, obsolete, and rundown housing stock have created a housing crisis that is having an impact on the economic health of communities and on the quality of life for community residents and their families. As local governments struggle with how best to address these interlinked issues, it has become clear that traditional approaches to neighborhood and community planning are not producing the desired results for residents.

To address this, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) launched the Choice Neighborhoods Program. This comprehensive approach to neighborhood planning takes into account the economic and social needs of residents in public and assisted housing beyond those of their physical environment. With HUD funding, ICMA coordinated a study of three smaller cities (Salisbury, North Carolina; Suffolk, Virginia; and Norfolk, Virginia) that received funding from the Choice Neighborhoods Program.

Based on the study, ICMA prepared a report, Evaluating the Role of Local Government and Project Stakeholder Engagement in Choice Neighborhoods Transformation Planning and Implementation.