Drake University Law School has entered into a partnership with the University of Colorado Denver’s Center for Sustainable Urbanism and Clarion Associates, LLC, to update and expand the Sustainable Community Development Code.
The online, interactive Sustainable Community Development Code provides state and local governments with examples of the most innovative and up-to-date land use standards to promote sustainable development. The code has been used by cities, towns, and counties across the United States to help improve their zoning, subdivision, and other development ordinances by removing barriers, creating incentives, and filling regulatory gaps.
Faculty, research assistants, and students from the partner institutions will collaborate to update the code. Jonathan Rosenbloom, professor of law at Drake Law School, and Rocky Piro, FAICP, executive director of the Colorado Center for Sustainable Urbanism, are co-leads of the project, with support of an advisory committee comprised of land use and sustainability experts from around the country.
“One of the most powerful tools local governments have is authority over land use,” Rosenbloom said. “The updated code will be an invaluable resource to help local governments utilize this authority in a way that promotes environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable communities.”
Increasingly, local governments are targeting land use and development as pathways to sustainability—from climate change, water conservation, and renewable energy to transportation, food security, community health, and affordable housing. Traditional land use and development policies and patterns, however, are often at odds with community sustainability goals.
Originally created by the Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute at the University of Denver and Clarion Associates, LLC, the Sustainable Community Development Code was designed to solve this problem, offering the best ideas about how to promote sustainability through innovative land use and development standards.
“The partnership between the Center and Drake Law School is an exciting, timely one that will help refresh and expand the model code at a crucial time as local governments take a more prominent role across the nation in promoting sustainable growth and tackling tough issues like climate change,” said Chris Duerksen, former chairman on the board of the Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute and land use attorney with Clarion Associates, LLC, who helped create the code.
“The update and maintenance of the code meshes very well with the mission of the Colorado Center for Sustainable Urbanism and its commitment to provide resources that help make cities and towns more vibrant, livable, sustainable, and equitable places,” Piro added.
Students at both universities will work on developing the code as part of their coursework, including students in Drake Law School’s Land Use Law and Sustainability and the Law courses. In addition, each year two Drake Law students will have the opportunity to work on continually updating the code.
“This is a great opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience in sustainability practices,” Rosenbloom said.