One Region Forward is made possible by the Sustainable Communities Regional Planning program from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The program is part of the federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a collaborative effort between HUD, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to coordinate federal investments in smarter ways and to help regions develop plans and strategies that tackle the inter-dependent issues of housing, land use, transportation, environmental stewardship and economic development. The Erie and Niagara County Consortium leading One Region Forward was one of 29 communities out of 140 applicants nationally to win this competitive grant in 2011.
The Partnership for Sustainable Communities Regional Planning program is based on six “livability principles,” which will serve as a critical foundation for the One Region Forward initiative:
1. Provide more transportation choices. Develop safe, reliable and economical transportation choices to decrease household transportation costs, reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil, improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote public health.
2. Promote equitable, affordable housing. Expand location- and energy-efficient housing choices for people of all ages, incomes, races and ethnicities to increase mobility and lower the combined cost of housing and transportation.
3. Enhance economic competitiveness. Improve economic competitiveness through reliable and timely access to employment centers, educational opportunities, services and other basic needs by workers as well as expanded business access to markets.
4. Support existing communities. Target federal funding toward existing communities – through such strategies as transit-oriented, mixed-use development and land recycling – to increase community revitalization, improve the efficiency of public works investments, and safeguard rural landscapes.
5. Coordinate policies and leverage investment. Align federal policies and funding to remove barriers to collaboration, leverage funding and increase the accountability and effectiveness of all levels of government to plan for future growth, including making smart energy choices such as locally generated renewable energy.
6. Value communities and neighborhoods. Enhance the unique characteristics of all communities by investing in healthy, safe and walkable neighborhoods – rural, urban or suburban.