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Built Environment

Achieve livability, choice, and access for all where people live, work, and play

The 7 objectives in the Built Environment Goal Area evaluate community development patterns, livability, and design characteristics, with emphasis on access and choice for all residents regardless of income. BE-3: Compact & Complete Communities promotes pedestrian-scaled, mixed-use development in high-density areas that support public transit. BE-4: Housing Affordability measures location efficiency through the combined costs of housing and transportation and encourages affordable housing in areas where transportation costs are already low due to public transit accessibility. BE-7: Transportation Choices provides the direct measure of transportation alternatives, affordability, safety, and Vehicle Miles Traveled.

The Built Environment Goal Area addresses other types of infrastructure, such as the provision of clean drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater in BE-2: Community Water Systems. BE-5: Infill & Redevelopment analyzes redevelopment and the condition of public infrastructure to encourage efficient use and reuse of land. BE-6: Public Parkland promotes accessibility to abundant, well-designed parks and greenways. Finally, BE-1: Ambient Noise & Light encourages reducing excessive noise and light trespass that adversely impact residents and local wildlife and protecting views of the night sky.

Objective Number Objective Title and Purpose


Ambient Noise & Light: Minimize and manage ambient noise and light levels to protect public health and the integrity of ecological systems 


Community Water Systems: Provide a clean and secure water supply for all local users through the management of potable water, wastewater, stormwater, and other piped infrastructure 


Compact & Complete Communities: Concentrate development in compact, human-scaled, walkable centers and neighborhoods that connect to public transit, offer diverse uses and services, and provide housing options for families of all income levels 


Housing Affordability: Construct, preserve, and maintain an adequate and diverse supply of location-efficient and affordable housing options for all residents 


Infill & Redevelopment: Focus growth and redevelopment in infill areas to reduce sprawl and ensure existing infrastructure that supports the community is in satisfactory working condition 


Public Parkland: Create a system of well-used and enjoyable public parkland that feature equitable, convenient access for residents throughout the community 


Transportation Choices: Promote diverse transportation modes, including walking, biking, and public transit, that are safe, low-cost, and reduce vehicle miles traveled 

Each of the above objectives contains quantitative outcome and qualitative action measures that can be used to evaluate progress. To see the evaluation measures, view the Built Environment section of the rating system.

Top Achieving Communities

  • Cambridge, MA: 97.1/100, 5-STAR Certified Community
  • Baltimore, MD: 97.1/100, 5-STAR Certified Community
  • Seattle, WA: 93.5/100, 5-STAR Certified Community
  • Evanston, IL: 92.6/100, 4-STAR Certified Community
  • Portland, OR: 91.8/100, 4-STAR Certified Community