Lowell, MA, Sustainable Lowell 2025

Adopted 2013

By: City of Lowell

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Table of Contents

Built Environment and Health

This city's comprehensive plan incorporates several public health concepts in its Sustainable Neighborhoods chapter. Walkability, mixed-use development, recreational opportunities, and local food are incorporated into multiple objectives. The Environmental Resilience chapter also mentions the public health benefits of urban forestry in Objective 6.

Community Visioning

This city's comprehensive plan establishes a vision statement based on four principles: Livability, Place-Making, Longevity, and Responsibility. It then provides the vision statement in three additional languages. 

Comprehensive Planning

This city's comprehensive plan offers a detailed vision statement focused on sustainability, with eight goals and action item areas linked to 21 desired planning outcomes. The public participation process for the plan was especially inclusive, with a focus on reaching underserved populations and youth; the vision statement and introductory summaries for different sections are provided in four languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Khmer).

Social Equity

This city's comprehensive plan lists social equity as one of its outcomes. Each chapter concludes with a table that shows which outcomes each objective addresses. Social equity is addressed in almost every action area.

Solar Energy

This city's comprehensive plan documents the amount of renewable energy the city produces: 30 MW of solar- and hydropower production capacity (p. xxiii). The city has made renewable energy and energy efficiency enhancements in 47 city-owned buildings, including installing solar arrays on four public schools and the Lowell Memorial Auditorium. The number of privately funded solar projects has also grown significantly, leaping from 5 projects in 2010 to over 125 in 2012 (p. xxiii). The plan lists the sustainability accomplishments for 2003-2012 which includes $12.2 million invested in private commercial and residential solar arrays and 9 solar arrays installed on municipal facilities (p. xxiv).

For the goal of prioritizing sustainable housing practices, the plan includes objectives to partner with local companies to encourage implementation of solar arrays and other sustainable design practices, and to incentivize passive building design approaches (p. 29).

For the goal of producing renewable energy, the plan includes objectives to identify and prioritize installation of solar PV arrays on municipal property as well as identify and assess opportunities for implementing solar thermal arrays on or near municipal facilities (p. 118). The plan includes a map of renewable energy facilities, including public and private solar facilities (p. 119).

Lowell, MA

2010 Population: 106,519

2010 Population Density: 7,842.08/square mile