NLC’s Sustainability and Resilience team works with communities across the country to:

  • Activate people-centered systems transformation through local climate and sustainability leadership
  • Build the capacity of municipal leaders at all levels through peer-learning opportunities, direct hands-on technical assistance and leadership training
  • Elevate innovative city successes in equitable climate actions to support scaling and replication of best practices

Our mission is to catalyze, support and celebrate city-led sustainability and resilience efforts.

The Sustainability and Resilience Program’s guiding principles are:

  • We put people first. We center equitable climate action to build a resilient economy, improve community health and safety, and reconnect people to local ecosystems.
  • We look at whole systems. We work holistically because enacting a solution for one problem should not exacerbate another, nor should one group of people benefit while another suffers.
  • We elevate and scale sustainability leadership that already exists in cities, towns and villages. We strive to be humble listeners and learners with our community partners and share their stories.
  • We are solutions oriented. We creatively imagine a socially just and sustainable world and work with local leaders to take actions big and small to build it together.


Capacity Building for Municipal Leaders

Providing cities, towns and villages with the concrete, needed tools to plan for and implement sustainability and climate action in their unique geographies and communities.

Actions within our capacity-building portfolio will equip practitioners with the tools to transform systems, center people, and take meaningful action.

Supporting Sustainability Resources


NLC + WaterNow Alliance
NLC has partnered with the WaterNow Alliance to build a network of local elected officials with decision-making authority over their municipal water utilities. Together, we’re promoting innovative practices that accelerate green infrastructure, encourage greater urban water efficiency and promote watershed health. 

Smart Surface Coalition
NLC is a founding partner of the Smart Surfaces Coalition, a group of more than 40 national organizations dedicated to transforming urban surfaces — making them more reflective and porous while increasing green spaces, improving air quality, reducing flood damage and reducing citywide peak summer temperature to improve equitable health outcomes in cities.