Minnesota GreenStep Cities

GreenStep Cities is a state-wide voluntary program for Minnesota cities to assist in implementing sustainable best management practices. Managed by a public-private partnership, this free continuous improvement program provides technical assistance and recognition for cities that adopt best practices in sustainability and resilience.  The GreenStep program identifies 29 best practices that cities can adopt to plan for climate impacts, increase energy efficiency and green and resilient buildings, foster green businesses and jobs, among other practices. Each best practice can be implemented by completing one or more actions that are tailored to all Minnesota cities. Over 100 cities in Minnesota are participating in this program. 

The GreenStep 29 best practices categories include: Buildings and Lighting, Land Use (including Resilient City Growth), Transportation, Environmental Management, Resilient Economic and Community Development. One of the best practices is: “Climate Adaptation and Community Resilience - Plan and prepare for extreme weather, adapt to changing climatic conditions, and foster stronger community connectedness and social and economic vitality.”  Within this step/best practice there are 8 key strategies supported by the program:

1. Prepare to maintain public health and safety during extreme weather and climate-change-related events, while also taking a preventive approach to reduce risk for community members.

2. Integrate climate resilience into city or tribal planning, policy, operations, and budgeting processes.

3. Increase social connectedness through engagement, capacity building, public investment, and opportunities for economically vulnerable residents to improve their economic prosperity.

4. Encourage private sector action and incentivize investment in preventive approaches that reduce risk and minimize impacts of extreme weather and the changing climate for human health and the built environment.

5. Protect public buildings and natural/constructed infrastructure to reduce physical damage and sustain their function during extreme weather events.

6. Reduce the urban heat impacts of public buildings, sites, and infrastructure and provide resiliency co-benefits.

7. Protect water supply and wastewater treatment facilities to reduce physical damage and sustain their function during extreme weather events.

8. Improve local energy resilience by minimizing fuel poverty, installing distributed renewable energy systems, and developing microgrids that can improve energy system resiliency.

Other best practices encouraged in the program support climate resilience and adaptation through stormwater management, urban forestry, green building design, and natural resource conservation.   



A working group meets monthly as the GreenStep Cities steering committee, contributing time and funding to implement the GreenStep Cities program. This steering committee consists of members from:

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

Great Plains Institute

Clean Energy Resource Teams

Urban Land Institute Minnesota

League of Minnesota Cities

Izaak Walton League - Minnesota Division

Minnesota Dept. of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources

Preservation Alliance of Minnesota

Minnesota Environmental Quality Board




Publication Date: June 2010

Related Organizations:

  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Best practice
  • Planning guides

States Affected:

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