Skip to main content

Sustainable Development Code: Welcome

The multidisciplinary Sustainable Development Code is a model local code providing the best sustainability practices to local governments. Drake Law School is honored to be chosen to direct this national effort, in collaboration with the University of Colorado, College of Architecture and Planning and practitioners from around the country.

Drake Law School seal

15th St. bike lanes in Washington, D.C.

Photo credit: MWander

Hinge Park

Hinge Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Photo credit: Payton Chung


Cook County (IL) Forest Preserve District recycling program

Photo credit: Mike F.


BedZED eco-village in south London, England

Photo credit: Tom Chance

Farmers Merket

Downtown farmers market, Des Moines (IA)

Photo credit: USDA

Wind turbines outside Halifax, West Yorkshire, England

Photo credit: Tim Green (original image cropped)

Green roof

Green roof in Louisville (KY)

Photo credit: USDA

Sustainable Development Code

The Sustainable Development Code is organized into various subject areas, such as wind energy, energy conservation and efficiency, urban forestry, and climate change. For each chapter, the Code lists 30-40 concrete policy actions local governments can take to become more sustainable in that particular area. The policy actions are listed in a three-by-three grid and are categorized by: creating incentives; removing obstacles; and filling regulatory gaps (each of these is then listed as good, better, best). See this sample chapter covering climate change.

Each of the 30-40 policy actions has a 4-6 page brief that

  • Describes the specific recommendation;
  • Explains why that recommendation is important to that particular area of sustainability;
  • Details at least two other cities’ codes that have implemented the recommendation;
  • Lists 4-6 additional cities’ codes with similar recommendations; and
  • Includes a full list of citations and links to codes and supporting documentation.

See this sample brief on transit-oriented development.

The design for the chapters and briefs came through extensive discussions and consultations with attorneys, planners, academics, and city staff from around the country. The idea is that the briefs will provide local governments with quick and easily accessible information that can be used to enact local legislation.

This research page is designed to facilitate the drafting of the briefs by providing a central location for research sources relevant to local codes addressing sustainability. Please use the tabs above to start exploring resources.

Drake faculty, staff, and students can find information about our procedures on the library's cite-checking guide.

Law Library Web Site · Locator Guide & Maps · Hours · Interlibrary Loan · Ask A Librarian

Drake University Law Library • 2507 University Ave. • Des Moines, Iowa 50311