Neighborhood Collaboration

Incorporating Green Building elements and principles of Smart Growth into neighborhoods contributes to the sustainability of our community in ways from which multiple people benefit. Collaborating with neighbors on projects opens lines of communication, builds networks, and makes our neighborhoods safer. Use this page to explore ideas about neighborhood projects that can reduce resource consumption and make neighborhoods more livable.

Explore how you can COLLABORATE with neighbors to incorporate Green Building elements and principles of Smart Growth into your community.

Develop a Neighborhood Plan or Update an Existing Plan. Organizing to improve your neighborhood is key for progress. Network and collaborate with your neighbors to define common goals and plan projects. Consider developing a Sustainability Plan to achieve waste, energy, and water reduction goals. Look for ways to share needs, such as carpooling. Your plan does not need to be adopted by the City to be effective—all it takes is dedication and collaboration among neighbors to be a success!

View existing Neighborhood Plans adopted by the City of Tucson.

Promote and support good infill projects. Infill developments reduce urban sprawl and bring resources closer to neighborhoods by developing vacant or under-used parcels within city limits and near existing development. Good projects incorporate elements of green building, which avoid negative impacts on your health and on the environment, include multiple functions (mixed-use), and are accessible by alternative means of transportation. Organizing and getting involved in the planning process will show that you support good projects that benefit neighborhoods.

Resources to help get you started (also visit the Sustainability in Government: Green Building and Smart Growth page):

PRO Neighborhoods

PRO offers both small grants and technical assistance for neighborhood projects. They assist groups working together to mobilize and build upon existing talents and resources within the community.

Tucson’s Most Walkable Neighborhoods (WalkScore)

Get your neighborhood’s WalkScore and find businesses nearby.

Mixed Use Development Prototype for a lot on Stone Ave. in Tucson

Infill Development - Strategies for Shaping Livable NeighborhoodsSusan C. Enger, MRSC Report No. 38, June 1997 - and Appendices

Building Livable Communities: A Policymaker's Guide to Infill Development,
 The Center for Livable Communities, Local Government Commission, Sacramento, CA, August 1995 (available for purchase)

Filling in the Spaces: Ten Essentials for Successful Urban Infill Housing (under index, select special reports) 

Urban Infill Housing: Myth and Fact, Urban Land Institute, 2001

Best Practices to Encourage Infill Development, Prepared by Robinson & Cole for National Association of Realtors, December 2002

Infill in the marketplace: alternatives to sprawl, by Tom Sargent, On The Ground, Fall 1994, 6 pages 

Create urban green space. Many neighborhoods have vacant lots, washes, and medians that can be enhanced and utilized as green space for neighbors to enjoy. Even existing parks may have opportunities for the addition of a garden or increased native vegetation. Urban green space reduces the urban heat island effect and benefits neighbors by providing a place to take a stroll and enjoy nature.

Promote the use of native and drought-tolerant vegetation. Native plants are adapted to live in our dry climate with limited water resources. Using native and drought-tolerant plants reduces the amount of water you will use on landscaping, saving our precious potable water resources. Look for opportunities in your neighborhood to add native vegetation, increasing the amount of green space and beautifying the community.

Native and Drought Tolerant Landscaping Resources:

• Arizona Department of Water Resources

• References for Identifying and Selecting Landscape Plants for the Low Desert (UofA)

• City of Mesa Resources for Arizona Low Desert Gardening and Landscaping

• If you are a Tucson Electric Power (TEP) customer, you may also purchase 2 native trees for $6 each through the Trees for Tucson program.

    Incorporate rainwater harvesting. Passive rainwater techniques can be easily implemented with a little planning and muscle work. Areas with green space are a good place to start, but also look for opportunities to help neighbors incorporate rainwater harvesting into their yards and homes. You may also find opportunities to actively capture rainwater with cisterns and then share or use the water in ways that the neighborhood benefits.

    The City of Tucson’s Water Harvesting Guidance Manual provides information on water harvesting techniques, their appropriate placement, and the context of water harvesting in site design. 

    Also visit the Water Resources and Sustainability in Government: Water Resources pages for more resources to help get you started.

    Look for opportunities to use solar power. Parks, ramadas, bus shelters, neighborhood centers, and community pools are all areas that may be able to collect and utilize solar power. Collaborate with neighbors to asses the possibilities and how solar power can benefit your neighborhood. 

    Learn from Community Models. People throughout the community are working together to make Tucson more sustainable. Learn from their projects and use the strategies in your neighborhood.

    Also visit the Energy and Climate Change and Sustainability in Government: Energy and Climate Change pages for resources to help get you started.