Listed below are a number of organizations that are active in helping to enhance the livability of neighborhoods, towns, and cities. Whether through farmland protection, rails to trails conversion, transportation initiatives, social policy development, or the application of New Urbanism practices, each of these groups is part of a growing awareness that our urban spaces hold the key to enhancing the community-oriented livability and safety of our entire nation.

American Farmland Trust

American Farmland Trust is a national non-profit conservation organization that helps communities and individuals save working farms, ranches, and forests. Founded in 1980, AFT works to stop the loss of productive farmland and to promote farming practices that lead to a healthy environment and sustainable communities. 1200 18th Street, NW, Suite 800 Washington, DC 20036 Tel: (202) 331-7300; Website:

Americans for More Civility

A non-partisan, grassroots movement promoting reason, kindness and generosity in public life and private actions. Their website features information about what we all can do to help reduce incivility. 2318 Gathright, Abilene, TX 79606; Website:

American Institute of Architects, Center for Communities by Design

The Center for Livable Communities is the clearinghouse for the AIA's many activities that influence communities' quality of life. The Center is a nonpartisan forum that aims to provide unbiased leadership to facilitate discussions of community design; to partner with other stakeholders to promote innovation; and to inform policy choices for communities, regions, and the nation. 1735 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20006 Tel: 202-626-7442; Website:

American Planning Association

APA is a non-profit, public interest organization representing 30,000 practicing planners, elected and appointed officials, and citizens involved in urban and rural planning issues. APA's members believe that sound planning is essential to meeting our nation's economic, environmental, and community development needs. 1776 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20036-1904 Tel: (202) 872-0611; Website:

America Walks

This is a national coalition of local advocacy groups dedicated to promoting walkable communities. The organization's mission is to foster the development of community-based pedestrian advocacy groups, to educate the public about the benefits of walking, and, when appropriate, to act as a collective voice for walking advocates. Old City Hall, 45 School Street, 2nd Floor, Boston, MA 02108 Tel: 617-367-1170; Website:

Association of Metropolitan Planning Associations

AMPO was established in 1994 to serve the needs and interests of metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) nationwide. Federal highway and transit statutes require, as a condition for spending federal highway or transit funds in urbanized areas, the designation of MPOs which have responsibility for planning, programming, and coordination of federal highway and transit investments. MPOs have a strong interest in applying smart growth-type principles to better coordinate transportation planning with local development decision-making. 1730 Rhode Island Avenue, N.W., Suite 608 Washington, DC 20036 Tel: (202) 296-7051; Website:

Center for Neighborhood Technology

Founded in 1978, CNT develops tools and methods for sustainable development. It has led the way in using transit-oriented development as a redevelopment strategy in urban settings, and it has created a financial intermediary to promote inner-city commercial development around transit. 2125 W North Ave., Chicago, IL 60647 Tel: (773) 278-4800; Website: 

The Center for a New American Dream

This organization helps Americans consume responsibly to protect the environment, enhance quality of life, and promote social justice. If you are looking for ways to cut down on television's impact in your life, these folks have plenty of suggestions for that and more. 6930 Carroll Avenue, Suite 900, Takoma Park, MD 20912 Tel: (301) 891-3683 or 1-877-68-DREAM; Website:

Character Development Group

It is the belief of the CDG that schools can't solve all of the problems which have undermined our students' values. However, through character education, teachers can play a vital role not only in developing better students, but in developing better people. CDG is designed to facilitate this process. P.O. Box 9211, Chapel Hill, NC 27515-9211 Tel: (919) 967-2110; Website:

Character Education Partnership

The CEP is a non-partisan coalition of organizations and individuals dedicated to developing moral character and civic virtue in our nation's youth as one means of creating a more compassionate and responsible society. 1025 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 1011 Washington, DC 20036 Tel: 1-800-988-8081; Website:

Civic Practices Network

CPN is a collaborative and nonpartisan project bringing together a diverse array of organizations and perspectives within the civic renewal movement. CPN members are grassroots environmentalists, business people, and civil servants working collaboratively to create safe and sustainable local economies. Center for Human Resources Heller School for Advanced Studies in Social Welfare, Brandeis University, 60 Turner Street, Waltham, MA 02154 Tel: (617) 736-4890; Website:

Cohousing Association of the United States

This organization supports the hundreds of built and forming cohousing communities across the country. They publish Cohousing, chronicling the movement's progress, sharing successes, and learning from experience. The definitive resource for information about cohousing in the US. Website:

College Town Life

This organization works to preserve walkable, affordable neighborhoods adjacent to college and university campuses. Before there was New Urbanism there had to be old urbanism, and American college towns are prime examples of the livability and community that once was the norm all over the country. E-mail:; Website:

Communitarian Network

The Communitarian Network grew as a response to a number of academicians and social commentators noticing a breakdown in the moral fabric of society. Attributing this condition to an excessive emphasis on individualism, they recognized the need for a social philosophy that protected individual rights while also re-establishing a sense of responsibility to community. 2130 H Street, NW, Suite 703, Washington, DC 20052 Tel: (202) 994-7997; Website:

Congress for New Urbanism

CNU is a collaboration of professionals working to reform North America's urban growth patterns. CNU encourages restoration of existing urban centers, reconfiguration of sprawling suburbs into communities of real neighborhoods and diverse districts, conservation of natural environments, and preservation of the built legacy. 5 Third Street, #725, San Francisco, CA 94103 Tel: (415) 495-2255; Website:

Etiquette Consultants for Business

A small business designed to help combat the growing problem of rudeness in the workplace. P.O. Box 290116, Columbia, SC 29229Tel: (803) 736-1934; Website:

Growth Management Leadership Alliance

Established in 1988, GMLA is a federation of 26 regional and state conservation and planning organizations. GMLA is dedicated to heightening the awareness of land use planning as a policy tool to address resource conservation, housing, transportation, and key public concerns. Member organizations concentrate on issues of development and planning, environmental concerns, and smart growth. South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, P.O. Box 1765, Charleston, SC 29402, Tel: (843) 723-8035; Website:

International City/County Management Association

Founded in 1914, ICMA is the professional and educational association for more than 8,000 appointed administrators and assistant administrators serving cities, counties, other local governments, and regional entities around the world. ICMA is also the organizational home for the Smart Growth Network, an independent membership organization that assists its members in identifying strategies and tools to protect the health and welfare of their communities through the integration of environmentally sound decision making and economic growth. 777 North Capitol Street, NE, Suite 500 Washington, DC 20002 Tel: (202) 962-3582; Website:

Local Government Commission

The LGC is a 20-year-old non-profit membership organization that offers education, training, and technical assistance to local areas seeking to implement innovative long-term solutions that further economically and environmentally sustainable land use patterns. 1414 K St., Suite 250, Sacramento, CA 95814 Tel: (916) 448-1198; Website:

Local Initiatives Support Corporation

LISC helps resident-led, community-based development organizations transform distressed communities and neighborhoods into healthy ones — good places to live, do business, work, and raise families. By providing capital, technical expertise, training, and information, LISC supports the development of local leadership and the creation of affordable housing, commercial, industrial and community facilities, businesses and jobs. They help neighbors build communities. 1825 K Street, Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20006 Tel: (202) 785-2908; Website:

The Mayors' Institute on City Design

This program is dedicated to improving the design and livability of America's cities through the efforts of their chief elected leaders. The program is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts, established by the NEA in 1986 and now administered by the American Architectural Foundation in partnership with the NEA and the US Conference of Mayors. 1620 Eye Street NW, Third Floor, Washington, DC 200064005; Tel: (202) 463-1390; Website:

National Association of Counties

NACo is a full-service organization that provides legislative, research, technical, and public affairs assistance to its members. The association acts as a liaison with other levels of government, works to improve public understanding of counties, serves as a national advocate for counties, and provides counties with resources to help them find innovative methods to meet the challenges they face. 440 First Street, NW, 8th Floor, Washington, DC 20001 Tel: (202) 661-8805; Website:

National Neighborhood Coalition

NNC promotes a neighborhood focus at all levels of government and throughout society by advocating for programs and policies that foster partnerships between neighborhood organizations, private sector institutions, and government agencies. 1221 Connecticut Ave., 2nd Floor Washington, DC 20036-2628 Tel: (202) 429-0790; Website:

National Resources Defense Council

NRDC is a nonprofit organization with more than 400,000 members nationwide. Its mission is to preserve the environment, protect the public health, and ensure the conservation of wilderness and natural resources. NRDC pursues these goals through research, advocacy, litigation, and public education. NRDC is working in partnership with the Surface Transportation Policy Project and the EPA to develop a tool kit for smart growth. The tool kit includes Once There Were Greenfields, a meticulously researched and documented book about sprawl, its impacts, and smart growth alternatives. 40 West 20th Street, New York, NY Tel: (212) 727-2700; Website:

National Town Builders Association

The NTBA is designed to serve builders and developers throughout the nation in an effort to create the very best traditional neighborhoods and town centers. The group is made up of town builders committed to the successful development of smart growth neighborhoods that are economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable. 3220 N Street NW #238, Washington, DC 20007 Tel: (202) 333-1902; Website:

National Trust for Historic Preservation

Chartered by Congress in 1949, the National Trust has more than 200,000 members and six regional offices to help communities preserve their heritage. The trust promotes downtown revitalization as a major alternative to sprawl through its National Main Street Center as well as through public policy advocacy, conferences, and technical assistance. It has published several books describing techniques for minimizing sprawl and promoting smart growth. 1785 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20036 Tel: (202) 588-6000; Website:

New Urban News

A professional newsletter for planners, developers, architects, builders, public officials, and others who are interested in the creation of human-scale communities. P.O. Box 6515, Ithaca, NY 14851Tel: (607) 275-3087; Website:

This organization's purpose is to provide useful information to the general public about urbanism, livable communities, sustainable transportation, sprawl, and how to improve everyone's quality of life. They also provide a list of professionals who practice New Urbanism, as well as an extensive bookstore and many valuable links to other organizations. 615 King Street, Suite 103, Alexandria, VA 22314 Tel: (703) 549-6296; Website:

Partners for Livable Communities

Partners for Livable Communities is a non-profit leadership organization working to improve the livability of communities by promoting quality of life, economic development, and social equity. Since its founding in 1977, Partners has helped communities set a common vision for the future, discover and use new resources for community and economic development, and build public-private coalitions to further their goals. 1429 21st Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036 Tel: (202) 887-5990; Website:

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

This is the largest trails organization in the country and the only one devoted to converting unused railroad lines to multi-use trails. Since 1986, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has provided leadership, technical assistance, education, and advocacy to and for its 100,000 members in their quest to preserve a piece of America's railroad heritage as a legacy for future generations. 1100 Seventh Street, NW, 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20036 Tel: (202) 331-9696; Website:

Scenic America

Founded in 1978, Scenic America is a national nonprofit membership organization dedicated to preserving and enhancing the scenic character of communities. It promotes scenic conservation by providing individuals and communities nationwide with technical assistance on scenic byways, place-sensitive road design, transportation policies, sign control, and other scenic conservation issues and by educating Congress and state legislatures on site-specific projects in various states. In addition, it produces a full range of publications on preserving the scenic beauty, open space, and quality of life that contribute to the environment and economy. 801 Pennsylvania Ave., SE, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20003 Tel: (202) 543-6200; Website:

Smart Growth America

Smart Growth America is a coalition of nearly 100 advocacy organizations that have a stake in how metropolitan expansion affects our environment, quality of life, and economic sustainability. The diverse coalition partners include national, state, and local groups working on behalf of the environment, historic preservation, social equity, land conservation, neighborhood redevelopment, farmland protection, labor, town planning, and more. 1200 18th Street NW, Suite 801, Washington, DC 20036 Tel: (202) 207-3351; Website:

Smart Growth Online

The SGO was founded in 1996 as an amalgamation of planning, environmental, government, and citizen groups to raise public awareness about how growth can improve quality of life. The network generates a comprehensive clearinghouse of up-to-date insights into what's happening with urban growth all over the world. Sustainable Communities Network, c/o CONCERN 1794 Columbia Rd, NW, Washington, DC 20009; Website:

Surface Transportation Policy Project

STPP is a coalition of more than 200 organizations working to ensure that transportation policies and investments conserve energy, protect environmental and aesthetic quality, strengthen the economy, promote social equity, and make communities more livable. STPP's Quality of Life Campaign strives to focus media attention and public debate on transportation issues so that communities realize the impact that their transportation systems and land use policies will have on every individual's quality of life. 1100 17th St., NW, 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20036 Tel: (202) 466-2636; Website:

Sustainable Communities Network

The mission of SCN is to connect individuals and organizations nationwide to the resources they need to help make their communities environmentally sound, socially equitable, and economically prosperous. SCN also manages the website for the Smart Growth Online. 1794 Columbia Road, NW, Washington, DC 20009 Tel: (202) 328-8160; Website:

Urban Land Institute

ULI is a nonprofit research and educational institute whose mission is to provide responsible leadership in the use of land in order to enhance the total environment. 1025 Thomas Jefferson Street, NW, Suite 500 West Washington, DC 20007 Tel: (202) 624-7000; Website:

Walkable Communities

A non-profit organization formed to help places become more walkable and pedestrian friendly. Whether they are large cities, small towns, neighborhoods, business districts, parks, school districts, subdivisions, etc., Walkable Communities works with groups to improve the livability of an area by enhancing its walkability. 320 South Main Street, High Springs, FL 32643 Tel: (386) 454-3304; Website:

Copyright © Douglas E. Morris 2005-2012