Business Development Resources in Massachusetts

Pioneer Valley Planning Commission — “The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission is an advisory body to member communities and to private business groups, performing research and analysis services in a wide range of planning areas.”

Massachusetts Small Business Development Center — provides management assistance, counseling and training to current and prospective small business owners in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Small Business Educational Resources — part of Business Utility Zone Gateway, a portal site for Massachusetts businesses. Offers a wealth of information and free tools for small business owners, as well as B2B networking.


Socially Conscious Investing

Corporate Social Responsibility Newswire Service — corporate responsibility and sustainability press releases, reports and news. Events, educational resources.

Institutional Shareowner — corporate social research, mutual funds and community investing information, shareowner action resources, investor tools.

Shareholder Action Network — a clearinghouse of information and resources empowering shareholders and supporting socially resposible investing. — comprehensive personal finance site devoted to socially responsible investing. Mutual funds, community investments, research, Social Investment Indexes.

Social Investment Forum — provides research information and resources to assist in finding socially responsible investments. Includes guide to aid newcomers. — Social Investment Newswire. News, emailed news alerts, investment indicator reports, mutual funds information kit.

Housing and Sustainable Development Resources in Massachusetts

Massachusetts Rural Development Council – “The Massachusetts Rural Development Council, Inc., (MRDC) a not for profit corporation, serves as a partnership between the national government, Massachusetts state government, municipalities, private for-profit and private not-for-profit sectors to provide development opportunities for rural Massachusetts residents. It is dedicated to improving the quality of life in rural Massachusetts while preserving the characteristics that give rural communities their unique sense of place.”

Franklin Regional Council of Governments – “The Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) is a regional municipal services and planning organization based in the upper Connecticut River Valley of Massachusetts.”

The Center for Rural Massachusetts – studying and promoting controlled growth in rural Massachusetts. Site includes summaries of research projects.

Alternative Energy Information and Resources for Massachusetts

Brower & Company – Energy and Environmental Consulting — conducts research on energy and environmental issues. Focus on wind mapping and GIS, renewable energy and electrical utilities, and population, consumption and the environment.

Earth Share of New England — (formerly the Environmental Federation of New England) — a coalition of environmental organizations working to protect and preserve natural resources and public health. Works to foster environmental philanthropy through public education and workplace giving.

Mass Energy Consumers Alliance — nonprofit consumer advocacy organization. Offers discount energy efficient products and is working to pool consumer demand for clean, renewable power. Online product catalog available.

Wind Resource Assessment of Western and Central Massachusetts — maps of wind speed in Western Massachusetts and a PDF file.

Renewable Energy Research Laboratory – UMass –“The Renewable Energy Research Laboratory (RERL) exists to promote education and research in solar and wind energy conversion technologies.” Site includes research notes, “Wind Energy Explained”, software simulation tools, links to other renewable energy programs.


Funding sources and examples of funded projects in Massachusetts

Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust — organization to promote the development of renewable energy in the Commonwealth. Site includes links to projects, articles and editorials, and “Index of the Massachusetts Innovation Economy – 2001” a downloadable report.

Massachusetts Department of Housing & Community Development — Division of Municipal Development; development funding programs.

EPA New England Grants and Funding — information about funding, doing business with the EPA, and general environmental accounting information.

EPA New England Press Releases — some examples of grants made recently.

Massachusetts Office of Business Development – Finance and Tax Incentives — general loan programs for business development.

Massachusetts Small Business Association – Financing — local financing information.

Organizations and Governmental Resources in Massachusetts

Massachusetts Technology Collaborative –“The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC) is an an independent, economic development organization established to enhance the Commonwealth’s knowledge-based Innovation Economy. In addition, MTC administers the Renewable Energy Trust, which was established to promote the supply and use of renewable energy sources such as wind turbines, solar, hydroelectric and fuel cells. “

Northeast Sustainable Energy Association — “The Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) is the nation’s leading regional membership organization focused on promoting the understanding, development, and adoption of energy conservation and non-polluting, renewable energy technologies.” Lots of interesting links, tours of solar homes, alternate-fuel transportation, workshops.

DOER Renewable Energy Programs — Massachusetts Division of Energy Resources (DOER) Renewable Energy Programs. Tax incentives, definitions and examples of Massachusetts area projects.

Massachusetts Environmentally Preferable Products Procurement Program — Information on environmentally considerate building materials, products and supplies. Links to general recycled product and service information.

Green Seal – provides a rating system for the environmental sensitivity of products and services. Includes product recommendations.

Clearinghouses of Resources

The International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives — The mission of the ICLEI is to build and serve a worldwide movement of local governments to achieve tangible improvements in global environmental and sustainable development conditions through cumulative local actions. The site offers ICLEI publications, including case studies, environmental campaigns and projects, and links to regional resources.

Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI) — tools for businesses striving to operate in environmentally, economically and socially responsible manner.

Ecosustainable Hub — connects users to many examples of sustainability projects, tools, information, discussion forums. Links page provides index of very large number of resources, organized by topic.

Sustainable USA Network — news, job database, examples of projects, youth programs, help getting involved.

Seed Coalition — Texans supporting clean air and clean energy.

Renewable Energy Policy Project — knowledge exchange for renewable energy, sustainable development practices and energy efficiency. Information on solar, wind, geothermal, bioenergy, hydrogen, hydropower and more. Rich resource list in ‘Global Energy Marketplace.’

ASES – the American Solar Energy Society. Dedicated to advancing the use of solar energy for the benefit of U.S. citizens and the global environment. ASES promotes the widespread near-term and long-term use of solar energy.

The Twin Cities Green Guide – while much of this site is specific to the Twin Cities area of Minnesota, there are many great articles on a wide variety of sustainable-living topics, from recipes for household cleaners to “green business” tips.

Green Media Toolshed – Green Media Toolshed is a nonprofit project of the Tides Center, established in 2000. Our mission is to provide media-related tools and information to our members – environmental nonprofits – so that they can more effectively project their messages to the public and decision-makers.

Planning Links and Resources


PLANetizen – The Planning & Development Network – a public-interest information exchange for the urban planning and development community. Offers urban planning news, job opportunities, commentary and event calendar.

Cyburbia – the urban planning portal – Formerly the Planning and Architecture Internet Resource Center (PAIRC), this site, run by Dan Tasman, is the oldest and most respected directory of planning websites. Offers hierarchical directory of resources, forums, columns.

Open Directory – Urban and Regional Planning – One of the largest, human-run web directories; the urban planning section is well-maintained by editor Richard Carson.

Yahoo! Urban Planning and Design – Yahoo!’s well-known and eclectic urban planning directory.

Professional and Industry Associations

American Institute of Architects – The AIA is the membership association for professional architects; the site features an “architect finder”, as well as online continuing education courses.

American Planning Association – The APA is the membership association for professional planners; the most authoritative source of planning information on the web.

Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning – Consortium of university programs in urban planning; their website includes a list of all accredited planning programs in the U.S. and Canada.

Congress for the New Urbanism – The most prominent and respected advocate for The Newco Urbanism; the website is a comprehensive resource for all things related to New Urbanism.

National Association of Home Builders – The voice of America’s housing industry, with a federation of more than 800 state and local builders associations.

Urban Land Institute – The ULI is the membership association for real estate development professionals; their website is a comprehensive portal to real estate research and news.


ArchNewsNow – Kristen Richards’ website and daily e-newsletter features architecture and design news from around the world.

Environmental News Network – The single-best source for daily news coverage of major environmental issues.

GEOPlace – Home of many GIS publications online and in print; the site offers access to current and archived articles of GEOWorld magazine.

Metropolis Magazine – The online version of Metropolis Magazine, which examines contemporary life through design, architecture, interior design, planning, and preservation.

PlannersWeb – Home to the Planning Commissioner’s Journal, a respected newsletter for planning commissioners and citizen planners.

Planning and Markets – Devoted to the study of planned interventions versus market approaches, P&M was the first entirely-electronic academic journal in planning.

The Planning Report – The insider’s guide to managed growth in California, featuring monthly planning news and interviews.

Research and Data

Economagic – This researcher’s paradise features a vast and free collection of easily available economic time series data useful for economic and planning research, with a focus on economic forecasting.


Census Bureau – The premier gateway to all things related to the Census, demographic and business data.

Center of Excellence for Sustainable Development – The US Department of Energy’s Smart Communities Network featuring a wealth of resources for sustainable development.

Department of Housing and Urban Development – From webcasts to an online library, HUD is the portal to US housing and urban resources, including archived consolidated plan executive summaries.

Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress – This extensive collection includes several thousand historical digital images created from maps and atlases and organized into seven categories including cities, transit, landscapes, and the environment.

National Transportation Library – Run by the US Department of Transportation, this website features an impressive repository of transportation publications, statistics and other resources.

Environmental Protection Agency – Everything you always wanted to know about US environmental policies.

US Geological Survey – A large collection of data, information and maps relating to geology, biology, water, topography and mapping.

US Green Building Council – promoting enviromentally friendly buildings. Includes lists of certified projects and accredited professionals, training workshops and industry research, as well as accreditation programs.

The Natural Step – non-profit organization helping businesses and governments integrate sustainability into their operations. Research, consulting services, conferences.

Special Focus

Building America – [Select the Building America icon on the National Building Museum home page.] This educational site contains a fascinating historical perspective about land, accessible through an impressively designed interactive timeline.

Carfree Cities – Provides a collection of examples and solutions to achieve car-free cities.

Housing Zone – This web portal for professional builders covers a broad spectrum of news and topics such as affordable housing, building materials, and remodeling.

Knowledge Plex – The leading portal for the affordable housing and community development field, supported by the Fannie Mae Foundation.

Lincoln Institute of Land Policy – The Institute is dedicated to improving the quality of debate about land use and tax policy, and maintains an impressive collection of materials from past courses.

National Geographic: Sprawl vs. Smart Growth – National Geographic’s outstanding introduction to New Urbanism is only one part of their impressive EarthPulse website, which features a variety of conservation tutorials.

National Trust for Historic Preservation – A resource center for documenting, preserving, and protecting diverse historic and cultural places.

Project for Public Spaces – PPS offers technical assistance, research and education to create and sustain public places such as parks, plazas and central squares; transportation; public buildings, architecture and public markets.

Reis – Reis is the web portal for the real estate investment community offering research, news, editorials and market data for over 100 metro areas.

Sierra Club – Offers a variety of tools and information to promote responsible use of the earth’s ecosystems and resources.

Smart Growth America – A nationwide coalition promoting smart growth; the site provides a wealth of information about how to get started in smart growth advocacy. – A program of Reason Public Policy Institute, the website provides an extensive database of research about market-oriented analysis of land use and economic development issues.

Regional/Local Sites

EcoCity Cleveland – Promotes ecological design, smart growth, and transportation choices in Northeast Ohio. The website demonstrates how planning theory is being applied in the region.

LUPIN: Land Use Planning Information Network – LUPIN is part of the California Environmental Resources Evaluation System, and the model site for what a state planning website should be. The website features an extensive collection of zoning codes, plans, reports, and other resources.

Michigan Land Use Institute – MLUI seeks to help Michigan avoid the patterns of suburban sprawl by offering original research and commentary about the environment, transportation, land management and conservation.

International Sites

International Network for Traditional Building, Architecture & Urbanism – INTBAU is a new international network for all those who design, make, maintain, study or enjoy traditional building, architecture and places.

PLANUM – The online European planning journal, featuring editorials and news from around the world.

Outside The Box – The leading source for information about skyscrapers around the world, featuring an impressive database of images and statistics for over 42,000 buildings.

Radical Urban Theory – A simple but elegant collection of writings and excerpts about the urban condition. – A journal of the built and natural environments, featuring articles, essays, editorials, poetry, fiction, artwork, and the “UnSprawl” case studies.

Consumer Information

OPT Consumer: Buying Clean Electricity — DOE Office of Power Technologies guide to buying clean electricity.

OPT Consumer: Making Your Own Clean Electricity — DOE Office of Power Technologies guide to making clean electricity at home.

DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy — has a good amount of info about alternative energy and energy efficiency. — information to help in choosing the greenest conventional cars. Buyer’s guide, news and articles, answers to frequently asked questions.

Smart Communities Network — U.S. Department of Energy sustainable development information. Includes a range of topics, with definitions and principles, success stories, regulations, articles, and educational materials relating to sustainable development.

Sustainable Communities Network — links to sustainability and smart growth resources. News about sustainable community projects, resources for a variety of sustainablility issues. — a network of communities, organizations and individuals promoting sustainable development. Site gathers resources on topics ranging from household tips to organizing action teams. – energy saving tips, factsheets, news, software tools.