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HUD and German Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development Agree to Cooperate On Sustainability

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RISMEDIA, May 12, 2011— While the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is working to promote sustainability in this country, the Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development (BMVBS) is pursuing a set of similar goals in the Federal Republic of Germany. Today, both agencies signed a Joint Declaration of Intent to work together to cultivate a dual framework to promote more sustainable and livable communities in both nations.

The Declaration signed today between HUD and its German counterpart will support a host of cooperative actions including: exchanging sustainability experts from each organization; sharing information and research; hosting bilateral conferences and other meetings at least twice a year; and sponsoring joint research studies.

“This Joint Declaration reinforces the idea that developing more sustainable communities is something both our nations recognize as critical to our futures,” says HUD Deputy Secretary Ron Sims during a signing ceremony at HUD Headquarters in Washington. “The U.S. and Germany share a common vision that we can build a better, more sustainable and livable tomorrow.”

“Our nations are urban nations. Not only does a majority of our people live in cities, they are the pillars of our economies and often focal points of the national heritage in our countries. Our joint action to foster sustainable and successful development for our cities therefore reflects our dedication to improve the living conditions in our societies as a whole,” emphasizes BMVBS State Secretary Rainer Bomba.

Germany and the U.S. already share a set of common interests involving sustainable communities. In the U.S., the Federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities is actively promoting a set of livability principles that include:

• Providing more transportation choices
• Promoting equitable, affordable housing
• Enhancing economic competitiveness
• Supporting existing communities
• Coordinating policies and leverage investment
• Valuing communities and neighborhoods

The Federal Republic of Germany and other European Union nations adopted the Leipzig Charter which recommends creating high-quality public spaces, promoting efficient and affordable urban transportation, and improving energy efficiency with a particular emphasis on underserved neighborhoods.

Within this dual framework the topic areas that may be pursued by HUD and the German Ministry include:

a. Analysis of integrated urban and regional policies relevant to the development and redevelopment of cities, metropolitan communities and rural areas in a broader framework with coordination of spatial, sectoral and temporal aspects.

b. Ways to foster the design and development of sustainable communities through integrated and inter-governmental partnerships in a federal system, with particular attention to transit-oriented development planning and finance.

c. Urban economic development and public–private sector investment partnerships, particularly in regard to sustainability, green retrofit, and the revitalization of cities in transition through large scale changes in their employment base.

d. Public-private partnership comparisons, in particular the varying degrees and methods of use of private corporate and philanthropic investment with public partners at all levels of government within the revitalization and sustainability themes;

e. Urban land use, including green space planning, urban farming and agriculture, temporary greening, brown field rehabilitation, as well as the quality of public spaces, urban man-made landscapes and architecture and their role as locational factors.

f. Construction technology and the development of building codes for safer, more affordable housing, with particular regard to residential energy efficiency, urban energy use, and solar, wind and geothermal housing advances.

g. Housing finance policy, including both homeownership and rental programs, and government monitoring of mortgage capital markets.

h. Housing rent subsidy programs: design, development, and administration.

i. Other national policy and research issues in housing and community development and related issues as may be determined by the two governments.

For more information visit www.HUD.gov.

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