About Place-Based Initiatives

The Office of Economic Development helps localities and regions build prosperous, diverse, and resilient neighborhoods and communities that help them to succeed in today's economy. Through technical assistance, best practices, collaboration and peer-learning, OER partners with communities to expand environmental justice, strengthen multipurpose investments, build regional collaboration, and increase access to jobs and opportunity for all Americans. OER has produced a series of fact sheets that take you inside the innovation of our partners.

OER's Place-Based Initiatives include:

The Sustainable Communities Initiative:

The Sustainable Communities Initiative (SCI) supports regional and local planning efforts that integrate housing, transportation, and environmental goals. That work was initiated through two competitive grant programs in FY2010-11: The Regional Planning Grant Program, and the Community Challenge Grant Program.

  • The Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program supports locally-led collaborative efforts that bring together diverse interests from the many municipalities in a region to determine how to best target housing, economic and workforce development, and infrastructure investments to create more jobs and regional economic activity.
  • The Community Challenge Planning Grant Program fosters reform and reduces barriers to achieving affordable, economically vital, and sustainable communities. Community Challenge efforts include amending or replacing local master plans, zoning codes, and building codes to promote mixed-use development, affordable housing, the reuse of older buildings, and similar activities.
  • The Capacity Building for Sustainable Communities Program engaged a national network of intermediary organizations with expertise across a variety of sectors to work directly with Sustainable Communities grantees and built their capacity to fulfill the goals of the SCI Program. This network facilitated the exchange of successful strategies, emerging tools, lessons learned, and public engagement strategies that maximized the effectiveness of the grantee projects.
  • The Fair Housing and Equity Assessment is a tool that SCI Regional Planning grantees used to examine barriers to fair housing choice and disparities in access to opportunity for all citizens in their region.

The Sustainable Communities Initiative Resource Library is a one-stop-shop for the high-quality innovative products, tools, media, and best practices that were created by SCI Grantees over the course of the Regional Planning, Community Challenge, and Capacity Building programs.

OER continues its liaison with the 143 graduates of its grant programs to support their emerging implementation efforts. The Office is also producing analyses of the SCI work in the form of fact sheets, case studies, and toolkits to synthesize the lessons learned and develop ways to improve their applicability in a variety of contexts.

The Partnership for Sustainable Communities:
OER serves as HUD liaison in the interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a joint effort between HUD, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and other federal partners to help communities improve access to quality affordable housing, provide efficient transportation options, increase climate resilience and bolster economic competitiveness while protecting the environment.

The Partnership was created in 2009 and adopted the following Livability Principles to guide federal funding programs and policies:

  1. Provide more transportation choices.
    Develop safe, reliable, and economical transportation choices to decrease household transportation costs, reduce our nation's dependence on foreign oil, improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and promote public health.
  2. Promote equitable, affordable housing.
    Expand location- and energy-efficient housing choices for people of all ages, incomes, races, and ethnicities to increase mobility and lower the combined cost of housing and transportation.
  3. Enhance economic competitiveness.
    Improve economic competitiveness through reliable and timely access to employment centers, educational opportunities, services and other basic needs by workers, as well as expanded business access to markets.
  4. Support existing communities.
    Target federal funding toward existing communities-through strategies like transit-oriented, mixed-use development and land recycling-to increase community revitalization and the efficiency of public works investments and safeguard rural landscapes.
  5. Coordinate and leverage federal policies and investment.
    Align federal policies and funding to remove barriers to collaboration, leverage funding, and increase the accountability and effectiveness of all levels of government to plan for future growth, including making smart energy choices such as locally generated renewable energy.
  6. Value communities and neighborhoods.
    Enhance the unique characteristics of all communities by investing in healthy, safe, and walkable neighborhoods-rural, urban, or suburban.
The Location Affordability Portal:
In 2013, HUD and DOT launched the Location Affordability Portal (LAP), a user-friendly source of standardized data on the combined cost of housing and transportation at the neighborhood level to illustrate how housing location impacts affordability. The LAP features two tools:
  • My Transportation Cost Calculator: This tool generates transportation cost estimates based on user-entered information and provides households, real estate professionals, and housing counselors customized comparisons of housing and transportation costs in different communities.
  • The Location Affordability Index: This tool gives estimates of the percentage of a household's income dedicated to the combined cost of housing and transportation in a given location. It can also be used by developers, planners, and policy-makers to make data-driven decisions about local and regional planning and investment and communicate with the public about different development scenarios.
Preferred Sustainability Status:
The Preferred Sustainability Status program incentivizes coordinated planning and development actions within regions where measurable progress has taken shape under the Sustainable Communities Initiative. The primary benefit for the region or city is the availability of certification of consistency with the Sustainable Communities Initiative, which provides two (2) bonus points on select HUD discretionary grant program applications for entities within the project geography if the PSS Community deems they meet the criteria. PSS Communities may also write letters of support for other government agency discretionary grant programs (primarily at EPA, DOT, USDA, and EDA) to strengthen their applications. For details on eligibility requirements for PSS, click here.
Community Solutions Task Force: Community of Practice
OED represents HUD as a co-chair of the Community of Practice, an interagency effort to promote collaboration across federal agencies and between the Federal Government and communities. The Community of Practice provides a forum for sharing resources, information, best practices, and evidence-based expertise from across the whole of Federal Government. Visit the Community of Practice website to find data tools, news about federal grants and technical assistance, upcoming training opportunities, and more.

Email a Question: EconomicResilience@hud.gov



Email a Question: EconomicDevelopment@hud.gov