Vibrant Communities & Neighborhoods

Maryland's decisions about how we use and reuse our resources, where and how to grow and build, and what we keep or lose are our legacy for the future. The One DNR Plan creates a list of goals and actions to guide the department towards making decisions that help the environment and provide cost savings.

DNR will foster policies that support existing communities and provide residents with healthy, safe, vibrant neighborhoods that provide the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors.

If you have questions contact Zoe Johnson at or (410) 260-8741.

Connect Communities to Nature

  • Balance growth with adequate conservation of Maryland's ecological, historic, cultural, and scenic resources.
    • What does it mean to live in a revitalized community? Of course, we believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to live and work in prosperous and secure communities. We want to provide access to affordable housing, job opportunities, community services and transit.

      Preventing sprawl, promoting economic development, and protecting our environment means that future generations of Marylanders will have an improved quality of life. By combining affordable housing, business assistance, downtown beautification, green building, and transit-oriented development initiatives, we can ensure that Maryland's communities not only survive, but grow and thrive, ensuring a better future for our children and families.
    • Every Marylander should have access to nature in the area they live, work, learn, and play.

Design Climate Resilient Communities

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare communities for the likely physical, environmental, and socio-economic consequences of climate change.
    • Maryland' s people, wildlife, land and public investments are at risk due to the consequences of climate change including sea level rise, increased storm intensity, extreme drought and heat waves, and intensified wind and rainfall events. Under the leadership of Governor Martin O'Malley, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources is coordinating the development and implementation of the State's Comprehensive Strategy for Reducing Maryland's Vulnerability to Climate Change.

Advance Community Character

  • Foster the development of environmentally sensitive, mixed-use communities with a strong sense of place.  A sustainability guide is available to show how main streets and towns are including green designs in their communities.
  • Invest in existing communities and protect the character of historic neighborhoods and buildings.
    • The Smart Sites program will focus redevelopment of key historic properties in Main Street communities, the State's traditional business districts in small towns and cities. These Main Street communities have the necessary infrastructure for growth that new developments lack. Refocusing on the development of existing areas reduces the amount of sprawl which is so harmful to Chesapeake Bay Restoration.

Foster Green Neighborhoods

  • Align residential living with functions of a healthy ecosystem.
  • Increase the number of trees, plants and wildlife in residential communities.
  • Encourage diverse and uniform opportunities within neighborhoods that support a strong environmental stewardship ethic.

Chesapeake Bay Health Information Maryland's Green Website

Sustainability Tip

Install a rain garden or rain barrel to catch rainwater. Stormwater rushing off of roofs and lawns carries pollution directly into streams and the Bay. Rain gardens and rain barrels slow the water down and keep pollution out of our waters. Click here for other helpful information.

Join the Sustainability Network

Click on the map to see our network

The Sustainability Network is a place where interested citizens, businesses and organizations can share ideas on projects and make connections between others who share their interest.