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PLACES - Sustainable Communities Program

Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.

Land use decisions are largely responsible for loss of ecosystem services that sustain us and provide us with quality of life. These include the air we breathe, the water we drink, the plants and animals that sustain us and add to our quality of life. They provide the raw materials on which all of our economy is based. Because development usually involves many small land use changes by individuals over time, not guided by a larger plan, these necessary ecosystem services are being lost. A community armed with a master plan, with a number of alternative strategies that consider the natural, social, and economic needs of the community, can secure these services and thus a long future with an excellent quality of life.

PLACES (Planning Land And Communities to be Environmentally Sustainable) is an EPA program that encourages and enables communities to voluntarily get their development strategies on a path that will sustain the environmental services that are necessary to protect the environment and human health. This program is modeled after popular green building programs such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Smart Growth, Sustainable Sites Initiative, Green Globes, that focus on site development, except that it is applied to entire communities. The PLACES program is building on the successful collaboration of the EPA, Kansas State University, and EPA Region 7 with the town of Stella, Missouri to help it adopt more sustainable development policies.


PLACES Program Helps Communities Onto the Path of Sustainability (PDF) (2 pp, 220 KB) (EPA/600/F-11/005) April 2011


Verle Hansen
U.S. EPA National Risk Management Research Laboratory
Land Remediation and Pollution Control Division
26 W. Martin Luther King Dr.
Mail Code: 489
Cincinnati, OH 45268

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