Sustainable Community Planning

Sustainable Community Planning

A changing climate, limited natural resources, population shifts—communities face challenges going forward. To be resilient means to sustain diverse and vibrant economies, effectively respond to hazards, and function within ecosystems limits. IISG helps communities apply the best-available science to maintain or improve quality of life, including economic and social well-being, without adversely affecting environmental conditions.

Programs & Initiatives

Purdue Rainscaping Education

​Rainscaping includes the use of sustainable landscape design and management practices at both the household and community scales to prevent pollution from reaching water bodies by directing stormwater to be absorbed by plants and soils. The Rainscaping Education Program provides training and resources on practices that can be installed in a residential setting or small scale public spaces project.

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Conservation through Community Leadership

The Conservation through Community Leadership program serves as a roadmap for communities tackling complex land use and natural resource management challenges. The program guides community groups, boards, and commissions through facilitated action planning sessions to support locally-driven natural resource management strategies and policy.

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Tipping Point Planner

Community leaders throughout the Great Lakes basin make long-term management decisions that affect the environmental health of local resources and communities’ quality of life. Protecting natural resources while enhancing resilience requires communities to understand and determine tipping points, which trigger rapid, sometimes irreversible shifts in ecosystem functions. Through this tool, Great Lakes communities can plan sustainable futures by directly linking data to their local decision-making processes.

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Enhancing the Value of Public Spaces

Public spaces play a vital role in all our lives. They are the paths we bike on, the public parks we play in, and the town centers where we shop. Decisions about how to design and manage these spaces can have long-term impacts on the social, economic, and environmental health of our communities. This program addresses public spaces and their role in enhancing the quality of place by helping regions, communities, and neighborhoods plan and prepare for a sustainable future.

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Research Projects

Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant funds original research projects that support and complement our education and outreach activities. The link below will take you the Sustainable Community Planning section of our funded research database, where you will find project descriptions, contact information, and final reports and publications.

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Sustainable Community Planning Contact Information

Topic Specialist

Kara Salazar
Assistant Program Leader & Extension Specialist for Sustainable Communities
Daniel Walker
Community Planning Extension Specialist

Research Projects

Carolyn Foley
Research Coordinator


Ethan Chitty
Administrative Assistant

Education & Training

Terri Hallesy
Education Coordinator
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