HUD Green Infrastructure and the Sustainable Communities Initiative

From the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office of Economic Resilience, the Sustainable Communities Initiative (SCI) Provides grants to improve regional and local planning efforts that integrate housing and transportation decisions, and that support sustainable development. The Green Infrastructure and the Sustainable Communities Initiative report provides case studies of 30 local governments who have used U.S. HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grants or Community Challenge Planning Grants to fund green infrastructure programs. Generally, HUD SCI grantees have planned for climate resilience by identifying strategic areas to implement stormwater best management practices with a dual approach to stormwater management that uses both traditional gray infrastructure and green infrastructure.

Although the HUD Sustainable Communities Initiative grant programs have not received appropriations since 2011, the case studies provide excellent examples of how local governments can combine various funding streams to pay for green infrastructure programs. For example, the City of Pittsburgh combined funding from a HUD Community Challenge Planning Grants with funding from a U.S. DOT TIGER II grant to fund the planning of the Allegheny Riverfront Green boulevard project.

HUD’s Sustainable Communities Initiative planning grants were awarded to 143 communities and metropolitan regions across the nation in 2010-2011. Collectively, these HUD SCI grantees' consortiums represent over 936 cities, 271 counties, 24 tribal entities, and approximately 3,300 total partners.

The grantee profiles in the report first present a brief background of the planning projects funded by HUD, and the goals of their projects as related to green infrastructure. Project overviews provide detail on the specific goals related to green infrastructure and the likely green infrastructure outputs or outcomes. Each profile includes links to other resources with more detailed information.

Here are two examples of SCI green infrastructure projects as profiled in the report: 

The City of University City , Missouri used HUD Community Challenge Planning Grant funding to complete the Parkview Gardens Neighborhood Sustainable Development Plan initiative. The plan seeks to build a sustainable community by integrating transportation, housing, public space, and cultural arts in a comprehensive vision for the future for the historical neighborhood of Parkview Gardens. The plan addresses the use of green infrastructure to reduce the amount of impervious surface, mitigate the environmental effects of stormwater runoff, decrease reliance on gray infrastructure, and improve the quality of the public realm by making the streetscape more walkable, attractive, and increasing green space. 

The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) used HUD Regional Planning Grant funding to develop a Regional Plan for Sustainable Development for the Detroit metropolitan region. SEMCOG engaged in a variety of projects under their grant, including: linking workforce development with business creation and emerging sectors, redeveloping community assets in commercial and industrial areas, developing a regional housing plan and neighborhood resilience strategy, developing a green infrastructure vision, creating a sustainable infrastructure system, building capacity at the local level, evaluating sustainability efforts, and promoting sustainability through public outreach.


The Sustainable Communities Initiative grew out of the HUD-DOT-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities, which began in 2009 when HUD, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) joined together to help communities nationwide improve access to affordable housing, increase transportation options, and lower transportation costs while protecting the environment.



Publication Date: 2010

Related Organizations:

  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Related Toolkits:


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Case study
  • Funding program


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