bicyclists with city bus in background in santa monica

Incorporating the Sustainable Development Goals into the Planning Process

This course focuses on the many ways planners can infuse sustainability into local planning activities and policies using the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as a guiding framework.

  • English
  • 66 Mins
  • Published
What You Will Learn
  • Understand the process of developing a Sustainability Plan
  • Explore the pros and cons of developing a Sustainability Plan
  • Connect the UN SDGs to local activities and practices
  • Identify opportunities for incorporating sustainability into planning practice
  • Explore strategies for overcoming potential resistance to incorporating sustainability into local activities
  • Develop strategies for education and communication about the importance of sustainability

Building on the first course in this series, Planetizen Courses dives into the variety of ways planners can incorporate the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into their communities. The course begins with a discussion of how to create Sustainability Plans geared specifically toward goals and strategies related to sustainability—a common in communities working to center sustainability as a community value.

In some communities, however, adding another plan to a shelf already full of plans might not be the best approach. Instead of spending a year and limited resources on another plan to add to the collection, planners might be better served by looking for ways to incorporate sustainability into a variety of the daily activities of a city. This might mean rethinking transportation projects to promote alternative modes. It might mean reviewing ordinances that serve as barriers to affordable housing. Or it might mean incorporating Low Impact Development standards into new projects.

Successful sustainability efforts require support from elected and appointed officials as well as the community at large. Given the politicization of sustainability, consensus can be a challenge. Planners need to prepare for how to communicate concepts and build support for sustainability. When planners can point to projects that are improving people’s lives, creating opportunities, and supporting sustainability across the environmental, economic, and social spectrum, it's possible to make significant progress toward sustainability. And that local effort contributes to a global impact.


This course is approved for 1.25 AICP CM Credits.