I am very excited about the current trends in urban planning. Many cities across the United States are creating plans to promote energy efficiency, sustainable practices at the local government level, and sustainability in the private sector as well. Only a limited number of cities had sustainability plans prior to this, with some setting city-wide goals or reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Cities are now striving to overlay their comprehensive plans with these new sustainability goals. The implementation of these plans are in the initial stages and there is a great opportunity to make significant gains in green practices, green buildings, energy reduction, reuse of materials, environmental goals, and economic viability in the new economy. ICLEI is one organization promoting standards and training in this field. There are many other organizations as well, including ISO, USGBC (US Green Building Council), the American Planning Association, and others.