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Sustainability Framework

​Ann Arbor's sustainability framework project aims to reorganize city goals to foster more integrated planning. This project is an 18-month project that will produce an overarching framework that integrates all city planning and a sustainability action plan that will connect overarching goals with quantifiable targets.

Sustainability Framework: Goals

Ann Arbor City Council approved a resolution to direct Planning Commission to incorporate 16 sustainability goals into the City Master Plan on Monday, July 2nd. On February 19, 2013, Ann Arbor City Council adopted the sustainability framework as an element of the City Master Plan. The City is currently developing a sustainability action plan to connect targets and actions to each sustainability framework goal. This action plan will help track and monitor progress on each of the sustainability goal.  



Sustainable Energy – Improve access to and increase use of renewable energy by all members of our community

Energy Conservation – Reduce energy consumption and eliminate net greenhouse gas emissions in our community

Sustainable Buildings Reduce new and existing buildings’ energy use, carbon impact and construction waste, while respecting community context


Engaged Community - Ensure our community is strongly connected through outreach, opportunities for engagement, and stewardship of community resources

Diverse Housing - Provide high quality, safe, efficient, and affordable housing choices to meet the current and future needs of our community, particularly for homeless and low-income households

Human Services - Provide services that meet basic human needs of impoverished and disenfranchised residents to maximize the health and well-being of the community

Safe Community - Minimize risk to public health and property from manmade and natural hazards


Active Living and Learning - Improve quality of life by providing diverse cultural, recreational, and educational opportunities for all members of our community


Economic Vitality - Develop a prosperous, resilient local economy that provides opportunity by creating jobs, retaining and attracting talent, supporting a diversity of businesses across all sectors, and rewarding investment in our community


Transportation Options - Establish a physical and cultural environment that supports and encourages safe, comfortable and efficient ways for pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users to travel throughout the city and region

Sustainable Systems - Plan for and manage constructed and natural infrastructure systems to meet the current and future needs of our community

Integrated Land Use - Encourage a compact pattern of diverse development that maintains our unique sense of place, preserves our natural systems, and strengthens our neighborhoods, corridors, and downtown


Clean Air and Water - Eliminate pollutants in our air and water systems

Healthy Ecosystems - Conserve, protect, enhance, and restore our aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems

Responsible Resource Use - Produce zero waste and optimize the use and reuse of resources in our community

Local Food - Conserve, protect, enhance, and restore our local agriculture and aquaculture resources


Sustainability Framework: The Web Tools

 Ann Arbor has over 200 goals seated in more than 20 city plans and resolutions. This website offers a central location to view all of these goals. The framework uses four planning areas to organize goals into categories. These planning areas are a tool to help look at goals across city plans. The four planning areas are: 

Climate and Energy


Land Use and Access


Resource Management

To view goals sorted by plan, refer to the 'Goals by Plan' page. 

To view goals sorted by planning area, refer to the 'Goals by Planning Area' page.'

To view the complete list of goals, refer to the 'Sustainability Goals' page.

Building Ann Arbor's Sustainability Framework 

The sustainability framework is not a new plan. The framework is an organizing tool for Ann Arbor's current city plans, goals, and resolutions. It is an effort to locate all of Ann Arbor's sustainability goals in one central location.

Ann Arbor's sustainability framework has three key goals:

  • Organize a framework of goals, objectives, and indicators to guide city planning
  • Access sustainability goals through a central location available to the public, council, and staff 
  • Institutionalize sustainability into city planning and future city plans

This project aims to produce both a framework for sustainability planning and a sustainability action plan that monitors progress towards goals set forth in the framework.

Development of the framework is set occur within one year, and the project started in January of 2011. The graphic below indicates the phases of development for the framework. The process demonstrated in the timeline focuses on taking inventory of the plans and goals the City of Ann Arbor has in place. This process also provides an opportunity to identify how city plans work with one another. What plans goals conflict? What plan goals converge? What goals are missing in Ann Arbor's sustainability vision?  

Sustainability Framework Timeline (1 Year)




The follow up to the sustainability framework will be the sustainability action plan. The action plan will build on the goals of the sustainability framework by ensuring that each goal is linked to specific targets and actions. Another component of the action plan is setting up a mechanism to track and review progress towards sustainability goals. This plan is currently under development. ​   

Sustainability Action Plan Timeline (6 Months)



This project is funded by the Home Depot Foundation.


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