KeepSpace in Practice
With tighter budgets, fewer funding sources, and much more at stake than ever before, a unique and integrated approach is more important than ever. Issues like sprawl, unemployment, global warming, the lack of affordable homes, and environmental and economic decay are changing our understanding of sustainability itself. Applying the KeepSpace philosophy and Elements on the ground in communities across Rhode Island is our first step in creating permanent, positive change, making our state a better, safer, and more affordable place to live.
As more partners join with us, KeepSpace facilitates the sharing of critical information across the boundaries of entity and discipline. In this way KeepSpace is not only a vital catalyst for resolving Rhode Island’s development crisis - it is a critical bulwark for the long-term economic, environmental and housing needs of the state, and our nation.
National Sustainable Communities Initiative
This summer, the Obama Administration announced its Sustainable Communities initiative, a similar effort conceived a full two years after the launch of KeepSpace. The partnership between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is intended to result in these agencies collaborating to integrate housing, transportation, water infrastructure, and environmental goals during community planning and development efforts.
Particularly promising is the upcoming opportunities for federal funding. The national Sustainable Communities partnership proposes to make grants available to help communities establish a vision for sustainable growth – a process that KeepSpace began more than two years ago.
LISC Sustainable Communities Initiative
KeepSpace works with Local Initiatives Support Corporation and community partners to revitalize underserved neighborhoods. LISC's Sustainable Communities program is focused on building healthy communities by creating opportunities for residents of those communities to raise their incomes, build assets and gain access to quality education, health care, jobs, services and recreational amenities.
In addition, KeepSpace is collaborating with and building upon the work of other compatible initiatives including national Smart Growth, and Grow Smart RI.
KeepSpace Inspires Change
DEM IMPROVES PROCESS:
Anyone familiar with a construction or community development initiative knows that they involve many facets. One time-consuming and confusing aspect can be obtaining environmental permits. Beyond the great work that KeepSpace is doing with its own projects, unexpected benefits flow to the partners involved, like DEM, and people who interact with them. Being involved with KeepSpace’s cooperative approach gave DEM a springboard for streamlining and coordinating its permitting functions. The newly implemented consolidated permit review team in the Office of Technical and Customer Assistance is a one-stop point of contact for those needing DEM permits.
RHODE ISLAND HOUSING CHANGES FUNDING FORMULA:
KeepSpace has helped Rhode Island Housing think more holistically and do more with less. With funding sources harder to find than ever, the agency has committed to using its funds as wisely and efficiently as possible - with a sustainable future for the state in mind. By embracing the KeepSpace Principles and Elements as an integral part of its funding decisions, Rhode Island Housing is creating more successful, efficient and long-term outcomes with fewer dollars.
Send us your KeepSpace Initiative
If your organization, company or agency has incorporated KeepSpace Principles into any of its projects or processes, please email Amy Rainone about becoming a partner and incorporating information about your project on our website and publications.