Sustainable Neighborhood Assessments

Global Green has conducted SNAs in 29 communities throughout the country.

Global Green has conducted SNAs in 29 communities throughout the country.

Program Overview

The Sustainable Neighborhood Assessment (SNA) is a 3-day intensive effort focused on identifying catalytic recommendations to improve a neighborhood’s sustainability. SNAs are structured around a tool built on the LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) rating system, an internationally recognized standard for urban sustainability. By examining a neighborhood’s housing stock, transportation systems, spatial design, walkability, bikeability, architecture, natural systems, and other assets, the SNA team is able to identify key recommendation areas for improving its sustainability.

Global Green USA was awarded a 5-year grant by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s Office of Sustainable Communities under the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program to assist communities across the US with sustainable neighborhood planning. While work supported by the EPA has concluded, Global Green is working with new funding partners to update and expand the SNA methodology to continue our work in communities across the nation.


Prior to each visit, members of the Green Urbanism team review existing plans and policies and identify key stakeholders to meet with. During the site assessments, team members identify a neighborhood's positive qualities and pressing challenges. Through the combination of a walking tour, consultation with community stakeholders and members of various city departments in meetings and public workshops, and application of the assessment tool, the team develops recommendations for both physical and policy changes to increase the sustainability of the neighborhood.

Sustainable Neighborhood Assessment Reports

Major findings and recommendations are summarized in a report that the community can use to guide current or future planning, urban design, or development efforts. Recommendations from communities visited date include creating more walkable street system, adaptive reuse of historic buildings, preserving affordable housing, expanding housing options, adding local job opportunities through mixed-use development, improvements to transit and bicycle facilities, energy retrofits to existing buildings, district-scale stormwater strategies, and establishing green building and renewable energy incentives.

2015 - 2016