Sustainable growth is a guiding theme throughout the Legacy Update. In order to be effective, sustainable development must be addressed on three levels: individual buildings, site design, and neighborhoods. It does not benefit us or our environment to have “sustainable buildings” if the sites and area where the buildings are located are not planned in a sustainable manner.
For buildings, incorporating green building techniques that promote energy and resource conservation and the reuse of materials is crucial. Site design should use techniques that limit impervious surface coverage and stormwater runoff, conserve land, cluster development and work with and enhance the natural characteristics of the area (see Low-Impact Development below). Neighborhoods should be accessible to alternative transportation and needed services, cutting down on the number and length of car trips. In order to maintain our environmental quality and grow sustainably into the future, we will need to incorporate alternative transportation into future development plans and provide services where people live. Alternative transportation consists of a network of bike lanes, sidewalks and greenways that allow residents to either walk or bike to their destinations (see Chapter 5, Transportation, for more information).