Green Communities Research Center


The Green Communities Research Center conducts research on best practices in planning for green communities.

Current Projects

SunShot Solar Outreach Partnership

APA and its several partners will provide outreach, training, and technical assistance to local and regional governments to help them implement solar energy in their communities.

Recently Completed Projects

Planning for Wind Energy

APA partnered with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Clarion Associates, and the American Wind Energy Association to produce a guidebook, Planning for Wind Energy, with funding from the Department of Energy.

Planning for a New Energy and Climate Future

APA partnered with the Environmental and Energy Study Institute for this three-year project on the integration of climate change and energy issues into planning practice. The project aimed to help communities reduce greenhouse gas emissions, adapt to a changing climate, and transition to renewable energy resources. The project resulted in an online, searchable database of case studies and resources; a climate change reader; and a PAS Report, which was also developed in collaboration with the University of North Carolina Asheville and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Funding for the project was provided by the Surdna and George Gund Foundations and APA's Environment, Natural Resources, and Energy Division.

Complete Streets

APA partnered with the National Complete Streets Coalition to prepare a PAS Report on best policy and implementation practices to create complete streets. The National Policy and Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity (NPLAN), another project partner, developed model policies that are included in the report. Funding for the project was provided by the Federal Highway Administration, the National Association of Realtors, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, the Ruth Mott Foundation, and NPLAN.

Past Projects

Wildlife Habitat Protection

With a grant from the Duke Foundation, APA conducted a census of local planning activity in jurisdictions that contain priority conservation areas to protect critical wildlife habitats.

Creating Community-Based Brownfields Redevelopment Strategies

APA worked with Bethel New Life and the Center for Public Environmental Oversight, with funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, on a training program and workbook that aims to help communities see brownfields sites as opportunities for redevelopment.

Planning for Urban and Community Forestry

With support from the USDA Forest Service, APA collaborated with the International Society of Arboriculture and American Forests to produce Planning the Urban Forest, a best practices manual about integrating urban forestry into municipal planning activities.

Smart Growth Codes

With funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, APA prepared Smart Codes: Model Land-Development Regulations, which includes 21 model codes that advance smart growth principles.

The City Parks Forum

A series of briefing papers, case studies, and technical reports were developed through the City Parks Forum, a program supported by a grant from the Wallace Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

Growing Smart

The Growing Smart Legislative Guidebook was the culmination of a seven-year research project. It contains model planning and zoning enabling legislation, developed under guidance of the Growing Smart Directorate, and with funding support from several federal agencies and foundations.

Project Partners

The Green Communities Research Center regularly works with partner organizations on research projects and programs. Organizations we are currently working with or recently worked with on research projects are listed here.

Environmental and Energy Study Institute

National Complete Streets Coalition

Public Health Law and Policy

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

American Wind Energy Association

Bethel New Life, Inc.

Center for Public Environmental Oversight

International Society of Arboriculture

American Forests