U.S. Military's Next Mission: A Livability Offensive
"While U.S. DOT, the EPA, and HUD get all the glory as the Partnership for Sustainable Communities – which celebrated its fourth anniversary this week – it may be the Defense Department that has the most potential to reinvent the way land is used in the U.S. and abroad," says Snyder. "The Pentagon is now using smart growth planning models to re-design the vast amounts of land it controls at its bases. And the military chain of command is bringing its full authority to bear on the matter: Livability is mandatory."
She explores the Defense Department's recent rewrite of its planning rules, led by former Air Force architect and planner Mark Gillem. "After a process that involved senior planners from all four branches of the military, as well as military families (who expressed a strong preference for compact and walkable communities), the new rules came out a year ago: the United Facilities Criteria (UFC) for Installation Master Planning [PDF]. It’s the first update since 1986."
"It’s a huge paradigm shift for the Defense Department, which had gotten into the habit of building massive single-story commissaries and exchanges with a Costco-like footprint, and simply building further and further out when more land was needed," Snyder explains.