With renewed enthusiasm to support local places, many are evaluating federal strategies and actions to help local communities regain their footing, including assessing past programs and successes. Launched in 2009 by the Obama administration, the Partnership for Sustainable Communities brought together federal agencies to better coordinate policies, programs, and funding in regards to affordable housing, transportation, and environmental protection. The Partnership’s planning grants and strategic guidance helped local actors better coordinate their built environment policies and leverage investment from the private and civic sectors. With the Biden-Harris administration looking to reenergize federal support for local needs, especially around economic inclusion and environmental resilience, many are calling for the Partnership’s revival.
On Wednesday, July 21, the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program hosted an event examining the impacts of the original Sustainable Communities program, the effectiveness of the inter-agency collaboration, and the prospects for its restoration. Following keynote remarks from Ron Sims, former deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, a panel of high-level policy staff from the Obama era discussed how the agencies coordinated to support national communities, what could be improved, and how those lessons can inform a relaunched program.
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