City of Binghamton, New York

Livable Communities Alliance

The Livable Communities Alliance aims to foster stronger dialog across all sectors, raise awareness among all populations about smart growth and livability strategies, and position the region to remain economically competitive in the face of major policy shifts at the federal and state level that will favor comprehensive, regional planning and development consistent with smart growth principles.

Mission Statement & Guiding Principles

The Livable Communities Alliance is a collaborative of diverse professionals, organizations and concerned citizens created to protect the quality of life, natural areas, rural and urban communities and the local economy, provide leadership and education, and promote livable and sustainable communities in the Broome and Tioga County region. To that end, the Alliance will support the principles of smart growth and livability through a commitment to integrated regional planning, citizen participation, the sharing of information, and advocacy for public policy that promotes long-term prosperity.

Smart Growth Principles

Smart Growth Principles*

1.   Encourage Citizen and Stakeholder Participation in Development Decisions. Plans developed without strong citizen involvement don’t have staying power. When people feel left out of important decisions, they won’t be there to help out when tough choices have to be made.

2.   Mix Land Uses. New, clustered development works best if it includes a mix of stores, jobs and homes. Single-use districts make life less convenient and require more driving.

3.   Take Advantage of Existing Community Assets. From local parks to neighborhood schools to transit systems, public investments should focus on getting the most out of what we’ve already built.

4.   Create a Range of Housing Opportunities and Choices. Not everyone wants the same thing. Communities should offer a range of options: houses, condominiums, affordable homes for low-income families, and “granny flats” for empty nesters.

5.   Foster “Walkable,” Close-Knit Neighborhoods. These places offer not just the opportunity to walk -- sidewalks are a necessity -- but something to walk to, whether it’s the corner store, the transit stop or a school. A compact, walkable neighborhood contributes to people’s sense of community because neighbors get to know each other, not just each other’s cars.

6.   Promote Distinctive, Attractive Communities with a Strong Sense of Place. Including the rehabilitation and use of historic buildings. In every community, there are things that make each place special, from train stations to local businesses. These should be protected and celebrated.

7.   Preserve Open Space, Farmland, Natural Beauty, and Critical Environmental Areas. People want to stay connected to nature and are willing to take action to protect farms, waterways, ecosystems and wildlife.

8.   Strengthen and Encourage Growth in Existing Communities. Before we plow up more forests and farms, we should look for opportunities to grow in already built-up areas.

9.   Provide a Variety of Transportation Choices. People can’t get out of their cars unless we provide them with another way to get where they’re going. More communities need safe and reliable public transportation, sidewalks and bike paths.

10. Make Development Decisions Predictable, Fair, and Cost-Effective. Builders wishing to implement smart growth should face no more obstacles than those contributing to sprawl. In fact, communities may choose to provide incentives for smarter development.

*As defined by Smart Growth Network

Livability Principles

Livability Principles*

  • Provide more transportation choices. Develop safe, reliable, and economical transportation choices to decrease household transportation costs, reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil, improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and promote public health.

  • Promote equitable, affordable housing. Expand location- and energy-efficient housing choices for people of all ages, incomes, races, and ethnicities to increase mobility and lower the combined cost of housing and transportation.

  • Enhance economic competitiveness. Improve economic competitiveness through reliable and timely access to employment centers, educational opportunities, services and other basic needs by workers, as well as expanded business access to markets.

  • Support existing communities. Target federal funding toward existing communities—through strategies like transit oriented, mixed-use development, and land recycling—to increase community revitalization and the efficiency of public works investments and safeguard rural landscapes.

  • Coordinate and leverage federal policies and investment. Align federal policies and funding to remove barriers to collaboration, leverage funding, and increase the accountability and effectiveness of all levels of government to plan for future growth, including making smart energy choices such as locally generated renewable energy

  • Value communities and neighborhoods. Enhance the unique characteristics of all communities by investing in healthy, safe, and walkable neighborhoods—rural, urban, or suburban.

*As defined by EPA-DOT-HUD Partnership for Sustainable Communities

Educational Resources

The City remains committed to working with the LCA to bring this new regional alliance in line with more than a hundred other national organizations and regional collaborations (EPA-DOT-HUD Partnership for Sustainable Communities; Smart Growth Network; AARP; Empire State Future; etc) working to advance these common goals. Less than a year old, this alliance merely strengthens and better coordinates the great work of existing, active networks, which together represent over 100 local agencies and organizations, such as:

  • Senior citizen advocates who want a more elder-friendly built-environment (Aging Futures Partnership)
  • Health experts who want more walkable communities and improved access to wellness initiatives (Strategic Alliance for Health, Food and Health Network of South Central NY)
  • Transportation officials and planners who want a more compact and cost-effective transit system (BMTS and DOT)
  • Housing advocates who want to incorporate energy-efficiency and universal design standards to offer more affordable, diverse housing options (Binghamton Healthy Neighborhood Collaboration)
  • Environmental groups who want to preserve open space and protect our natural assets (BRSC and BC Environmental Management Council)
  • Local agriculture and food security advocates who want to rebuild our local food systems as economic engines and improve access to healthy foods for all residents (BRSC, Food and Health Network of South Central NY, V.I.N.E.S)
  • Government officials & planners that recognize the need to cooperate regionally to remain economically competitive
  • Professionals of the built environment (architects and engineers) and academic partners at educational centers (Binghamton University, Cornell University, & Broome Community College) that are assisting communities move from “rust belt cities” to “green cities”

Since the City's Commission on Sustainable Development and Smart Growth Policy Report included strong recommendations for the City to participate in and facilitate regional dialogue around smart growth and land-use issues, we will continue to work with this alliance to raise awareness and advance policy reforms and legislation that support the creation of more livable communities.

To learn more about LCA, its ongoing work, and upcoming activities, please visit its dedicated website, which is updated more frequently than this page.