Sustainable Communities Research

This page last reviewed March 28, 2017

Sacramento light rail photo Strategies to promote sustainable communities include providing neighborhoods with safe, reliable, and affordable transportation choices that improve air quality, health, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG); equitable and affordable energy- and location-efficient housing options; improved access to quality employment, education, and other resources and services; and safe, vibrant surroundings.

While there are many definitions of sustainability, the U.S. EPA defines sustainability as creating and maintaining conditions, under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations.

To help achieve sustainable communities, ARB is focusing on built environment research that can help California reduce our greenhouse gases and air pollution, while helping our cities adapt to the impacts of climate change. By focusing on how we plan, build, and interact with our built environment, we can:

  • Advance progress on combatting climate change (AB 32 requirements, SB375, and voluntary reductions) and meeting air quality standards
  • Create healthier homes and communities
  • Work toward equality in environmental and health outcomes

ARB’s Sustainable Communities efforts focus on land use and transportation planning, green buildings, and cool communities and evaluate the potential within these areas to reduce GHG emissions, air pollutants, and the urban heat island effect.

Low Carbon Transportation Choices

cleaner fuel choices vehicle

Emissions from the transportation sector must be significantly decreased in order to meet California’s long-term climate goals. ARB’s research program seeks to improve our understanding of household transportation and vehicle choices, barriers to zero emission vehicle adoption, and quantification of emission benefits by adopting the cleanest transportation technologies available. Read more.

Land Use and Transportation Planning

bike lane

In planning for more sustainable communities, local and regional governments are pursuing integrated planning strategies that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve public health. Read more.

Green Buildings

green building retrofit

Significant GHG emission reductions—as well as many other environmental and health benefits—can be achieved through sustainable construction, operation, and renovation of new and existing buildings. Read more.

Cool Communities

grazing cows

Many strategies that alter our built environment can not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, but also help combat the heat island effect, including placing cool roofs on buildings, using more cool pavements in our transportation systems, and maintaining and growing urban forests. Read More.

For more information on ARB's Sustainable Communities Research, please contact Maggie Witt at (916) 324-9061.