PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – September 22, 2014 – Researchers at the Penn Institute for Urban Research (Penn IUR), in collaboration with the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, have launched the Sustainable Communities Indicator Catalog (SCIC), a web-based tool that enables communities to assess and track their progress on measures of “livability,” such as transportation options, affordable housing and economic competitiveness.
With funding from the Ford Foundation, Penn IUR developed the SCIC for the Partnership for Sustainable Communities (PSC), an alliance of three federal agencies: Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Transportation (DOT), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The new tool highlights thirty-one priority indicators and equity measures, describing how each relates to sustainability, offering instruction on its use and interpretation, and providing examples of its use in U.S. cities. Communities of all sizes (rural, urban, and suburban) can use the searchable database to select indicators appropriate to their projects and desired outcomes, and to track their progress on those measures of sustainability. The new SCIC aims to address six “livability principles” that govern the Partnership for Sustainable Communities (PSC) program: provide more transportation choices; promote equitable, affordable housing; enhance economic competitiveness; support existing communities; coordinate and leverage federal policies and investment; and value communities and neighborhoods.
Penn IUR Scholars Amy Lynch and Stuart Andreason, and current Penn Ph.D. student Simon Mosbah, developed the SCIC under the direction of Penn IUR Co-Director Genie Birch. The researchers developed the new tool for PSC by crowd-sourcing indicators from around the country, while incorporating state-of-the-art research on sustainability of the built environment.
The PSC was founded in 2009 to share knowledge and coordinate investments in infrastructure, facilities, and services, that can meet multiple economic, environmental, and community objectives with each dollar spent. Through these efforts, more than 1,000 communities in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico have received more than $4 billion in grants and technical assistance to help them grow and improve their quality of life.