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Sustainable Community Development Code Framework

College of Architecture and Planning

​​The Sustainable Development Zoning Code is now at the Colorado Center for Sustainable Urbanism. The Code, which was previously housed at the Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute,  provides guidance and examples for implementing principles of sustainability.  It has been used by cities across the country to help rewrite plan and zoning documents.  The Colorado Center for Sustainable Urbanism will continue its partnership with the Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute, and will establish new relationships, including with Drake University Law School in Des Moines, Iowa.  Our intent is to manage and regularly update information on sustainable zoning practices.​

Increasingly, cities and regions across the U.S. are targeting land use and development as a critical pathway to sustainability, from climate change, water conservation and renewable energy to transportation, food security and affordable housing. The problem is, land use and development policies are often at odds with sustainability goals. The Institute has pioneered the Code Framework to solve this problem.

Novel, comprehensive and user-friendly, the Code Framework embeds the best sustainability ideas in actual land use laws by way of an information and evaluation framework, aligning means with ends. It allows municipalities, regions and states to seamlessly audit and upgrade their development laws to remove barriers, create incentives and fill regulatory gaps based on a core set of sustainability objectives. Unlike most one-size-fits-all approaches, the Code Framework is contextual and place-based, enabling communities to customize their land use and development rules according to their own particular political, economic and environmental circumstances. It provides key information on and access to best-in-class models from other jurisdictions to help position communities for success in their race to the top.

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