Green Communities Center

Planning for a New Energy and Climate Future

The American Planning Association worked with the Environmental and Energy Study Institute on a three-year research project on the integration of energy and climate issues into planning practice. Funding for the project was provided by the Surdna and George Gund Foundations and APA's Environment, Natural Resources, and Energy Division.

The project aimed to help planners incorporate energy and climate considerations into their work and assist communities and regions to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, transition to renewable energy, and adapt to a changing climate.

Planning for a New Energy and Climate Future

PAS 558

Planners have an important role to play in helping communities meet energy needs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and adapt to a changing climate. While most planners recognize the significance of these issues, they are still working to translate these imperatives into on-the-ground plans, actions, and regulations.

The report presents fundamental information about energy and climate change, provides a framework for how to integrate energy and climate into the planning process, and offers strategies for communities to address energy and climate across a variety of issues, including development patterns, transportation, and economic development. Case studies illustrate communities that have already begun taking steps in these areas.

Energy and Climate Resources

APA Policy Guide on Climate Change (pdf)

APA Policy Guide on Energy

PAS QuickNotes 13: Climate Change and Energy (pdf)


Listen to a roundtable discussion with the coauthors of Planning for a New Energy and Climate Future—Suzanne Rynne, AICP, manager of APA’s Green Communities Research Center; Jan Mueller, Senior Policy Associate with the Environmental and Energy Study Institute; and Scott Shuford, AICP, Planning and Development Director of Onslow County, North Carolina.

Energy Surveys

The APA/EESI partnership launched two national surveys in 2005 and 2007 to assess the current state of planners' capacity, knowledge, and educational needs concerning the integration of climate change and energy issues into community planning.