Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
This goal is designed to be met by addressing individual, community, and regional needs. For example, targets include providing access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services as well as safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems; enhancing inclusive and sustainable urbanization; protecting and safeguarding the world’s cultural and natural heritage; protecting the poor and people in vulnerable situations; reducing the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities; providing universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces; strengthening national and regional development planning; and, adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, and resilience to disasters. See below for Penn State’s work on the targets and indicators for this goal.
Research & Publications
Penn State named a gold-level Bicycle Friendly University | Penn State University (psu.edu)
Link: Penn State named a gold-level Bicycle Friendly University | Penn State University (psu.edu)
Free Outdoor Concert with Mwenso and The Shakes Opens Center for the Performing Arts’ Return to Live Events
Link: Free Outdoor Concert with Mwenso and The Shakes Opens Center for the Performing Arts’ Return to Live Events September 13, 2021: Marking a return to live in-person events for the center after an 18-month [...]
Penn State unveils new Animal, Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences Building
Link: Penn State unveils new Animal, Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences Building DECEMBER 1, 2021: The 105,000-square-foot, $98.5 million building, located on the site of the former Henning Building on Shortlidge Road between Curtin Road and [...]
Trustees approve final plans for new Palmer Museum of Art
Link: Trustees approve final plans for new Palmer Museum of Art MAY 7, 2021: The museum will be equipped with HVAC systems designed for art preservation and, in keeping with Penn State’s commitment to sustainability, [...]
Pollock Road to close to through traffic near Old Main beginning June 17
Link: Pollock Road to close to through traffic near Old Main beginning June 17 JUNE 4, 2018: Effective 5 p.m. Sunday, June 17, a section of Pollock Road near Old Main will close to through [...]
Remote Work Task Force recommendations approved by senior leadership
Link: Remote Work Task Force recommendations approved by senior leadership AUGUST 10, 2021: The task force, made up of representatives from across the University, has recommended that Penn State adopt flexible work arrangements for staff [...]
1) Does Penn State provide public access to buildings, monuments or natural heritage landscapes of cultural significance?
It is the policy of the University to preserve an open access environment and all significant buildings are open to the public from 8 am to 5 pm.
- Penn State Landmarks that the public can access include the original Old Main building, front campus landscape and the former Carnegie library building. More information about publicly accessible Penn State Landmarks can be found on this library Penn State Landmarks webpage.
- The H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens and all other parts of the Arboretum are open to the public without charge. The Arboretum is a University facility for study, research, reflection, and enjoyment.
- Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center provides free public access to an aviary, herpetarium, and indoor bird-watching station, ponds, pollinator gardens, interpretive environmental learning, trails for hiking, spots for picnicking, and more.
University libraries are open to the public. Any resident of Pennsylvania can register to have an account to borrow from the library. Pennsylvania residents are eligible to register for a Penn State Library Borrower Card that allows individuals to borrow up to 100 books, DVDs, CDs and more. In addition to free public access the libraries also provide instructional sessions to visiting groups free of charge.
3) Does Penn State provide public access to museums, exhibition spaces / galleries and/or works of art and artifacts?
All University museums and cultural sites have free public access.
- Palmer Museum of Art is open with free admission to the public Tuesday-Sunday.
- The All-Sports Museum is open to the public Tuesday -Sunday with a suggested donation of $3-5.
- The student union building, the HUB, has the Robeson Art Galleries. This centrally located building has artwork throughout and is always free and open to all.
Penn State campuses are open to the public for access to open and green spaces. At University Park, there is a map that describes all our trees to help enjoy the natural environment. At all our campuses, community members often use public green spaces for recreation, picnics, and other community activities. In addition to open and green spaces on our campuses, Penn State manages approximately 8,000 acres of forestland which are open to public use including hunting, fishing, and trapping of wildlife.
5) Does Penn State contribute to local arts, in terms of number of annual public performances of university choirs / theatre groups / orchestras etc?
Penn State contributes to local arts by hosting free and paid concerts and public performances across our campuses. These performances are open to the public. The 2020-2021 annual report for the Center for The Performing Arts at University Park (pages 12-15) lists more than 30 performances throughout the year (many of which were performed on multiple occasions). The Center for The Performing Arts is only one of several entities around the campuses providing performances for the community.
Other events which contribute to local arts performances include:
6) Does Penn State deliver projects to record and/or preserve intangible cultural heritage such as local folklore, traditions, language, and knowledge? This can include the heritage of displaced communities.
Penn State Libraries deliver projects to record and/or preserve intangible cultural heritage such as local folklore, traditions, language, and knowledge. It hosts Literary and Cultural Heritage Maps of Pennsylvania, a digital humanities project that is committed to represent all geographic locations and demographic groups that have contributed to Pennsylvania’s literary and cultural heritage. To address historical exclusions, the project prioritizes women, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, LGBTQ+ persons, people with disabilities, and other previously-marginalized and underrepresented groups in the expansion of our site. Penn State scholars are active participants in the Pennsylvania Digital Cultural Heritage Collaborative and present on the topics of Inclusive Archives and Digital Preservation. Other examples include library guides on Indigenous People of Pennsylvania and Folklore and Folklife Studies and the Pennsylvania Center for Folklore.
7) Does Penn State measure and set targets for more sustainable commuting (walking, cycling or other non-motorized transport, vanpools, carpools, shuttlebus or public transportation, motorcycle, scooter or moped, or electric vehicles)?
Penn State measures sustainable commuting by tracking the number of parking permits issued, the number of bicycles registered, and the number of campus bus rides and shuttle rides taken each semester and year.
The Transportation Dashboard provides data on the total fleet vehicles by fuel type and a breakdown of commute modes for faculty, staff, and students.
Sustainable commuting is also tracked using the Commute Modal Split section of the STARS report which reflects percentage of students that use more sustainable commuting options as their primary mode of transportation. The STARS report also measures Support for Sustainable Transportation which guides target setting for bike and car sharing programs, EV charging stations, and fuel efficient vehicles.
The University works to support more sustainable commuting to and visiting our campuses by providing rideshare options, EV charging stations, encouraging bicycling and the use of public transportation.
8) Does Penn State undertake actions to promote the % of more sustainable commuting (e.g. provision of free or subsidized buses or shared transport schemes, provision of bicycle parking & storage facilities, provision of cycle tracks, a bicycle and pedestrian plan or policy, bicycle sharing program, free or reduced price transit passes, car/van pool or ride sharing program, reduced parking fees or preferential parking for carpool or vanpool users, car sharing program, provision of electric vehicle recharging stations, preferred parking for fuel-efficient vehicles)?
Penn State promotes sustainable commuting through a number of programs. These include: free bus rides on the Loop, Link, and Campus Shuttle routes; access to reduced-fare bus service to/from campus for eligible Penn State full-time employees and graduate students; nearly 800 bike racks; a bike repair and bike maintenance facility on campus; bicycle repair stations across campus; a Ride Smart program which provides students with 8, $10 credits to use lyft rides; supports 300 electric assist bikeshare bikes; and provides several electric vehicle charging stations on campus.
9) Does Penn State promote or allow telecommuting or remote working for employees as a matter of policy or standard practice, and/or offer a condensed working week to reduce employee commuting?
The university promotes and allows remote work/telecommuting as a standard practice. Accelerated by the pandemic, Penn State employees have a vast scope of remote and hybrid options. Prior to the pandemic, Penn State did offer telecommuting options however these options have been expanded and continue to evolve. This has greatly reduced the need for commuting.
Penn State provides information resources to help employees find housing within their budgets, and subsidized commuting options for employees who choose to live in more affordable outlying communities. For some staff positions, the University offers free housing on campus at no cost to staff, such as residence life coordinators and visiting faculty.
Penn State provides a vast scope of on-campus housing options, and resources to help students find off-campus housing within their budget. For students in crisis or in need of financial assistance, the University has a generous Student Emergency Fund. Funds are typically used to address acute financial stress, covering rent or temporary housing, along with other essential needs. 96% of Pennsylvanians live within 30 miles of a Penn State location providing the opportunity for Pennsylvania students to remain in their home communities.
Penn State University Park prioritized pedestrian access to campus when it adapted a road closure policy in 2018. It is still active for cars traveling through a main throughfare on campus as part of campus master plan to reestablish pedestrian zones. Campus maps shows numerous pedestrian-only walkways. Additionally, a Safe Walk Program has been established to promote campus safety and pedestrian walkability at night.
13) Does Penn State work with local authorities to address planning issues/development, including ensuring that local residents are able to access affordable housing?
Penn State’s Pennsylvania Housing Research Center (PHRC) provides and facilitates education, training, innovation, research, and dissemination to the residential construction industry for the purpose of improving the quality and affordability of housing. The PHRC collaboratively engages with the residential construction industry to catalyze advancements in home building and addresses a range of topics relevant to the home building industry to reach a diverse audience: builders, code officials, remodelers, architects, developers, engineers, planners, landscape architects, local government officials, educators, etc. to provide professional development and continuing education.
Additionally, Penn State partners with the State College Community Land Trust through PHRC and the Hamer Center for Community Design to support and advance affordable housing for local residents.
It is a requirement at Penn State to build all new buildings to LEED standards. This is described in the 2019 LEED v4 policy.
Penn State is a world leader in sustainable building design and standards with 48 buildings that are, at minimum, LEED certified, with an additional 19 pending certification. In 2021, Penn State began building the new Palmer Art Museum of Art to US Green Building Council standards for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.
15) Does Penn State build on brownfield sites, where possible (brownfield sites are those where there has been previous, recent building)?
New building projects are focused on renovation and re-building on existing sites which is considered brownfield building based on global standards.
Recent examples of brownfield construction:
- Animal, Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences Building built on site of former Henning Building
- Chemical and Biomedical Engineering Building built on the site of former Fenske Laboratory
Targets & Indicators
Target 11.1: By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums
- Indicator 11.1.1: Proportion of urban population living in slums, informal settlements or inadequate housing
Target 11.2: By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons
- Indicator 11.2.1: Proportion of population that has convenient access to public transport, by sex, age and persons with disabilities
Target 11.3: By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries
- Indicator 11.3.1: Ratio of land consumption rate to population growth rate
- Indicator 11.3.2: Proportion of cities with a direct participation structure of civil society in urban planning and management that operate regularly and democratically
Target 11.4: Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage
- Indicator 11.4.1: Total per capita expenditure on the preservation, protection and conservation of all cultural and natural heritage, by source of funding (public, private), type of heritage (cultural, natural) and level of government (national, regional, and local/municipal)
Target 11.5: By 2030, significantly reduce the number of deaths and the number of people affected and substantially decrease the direct economic losses relative to global gross domestic product caused by disasters, including water-related disasters, with a focus on protecting the poor and people in vulnerable situations
- Indicator 11.5.1: Number of deaths, missing persons and directly affected persons attributed to disasters per 100,000 population
- Indicator 11.5.2: Direct economic loss attributed to disasters in relation to global gross domestic product (GDP)
- Indicator 11.5.3: (a) Damage to critical infrastructure and (b) number of disruptions to basic services, attributed to disasters
Target 11.6: By 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management
- Indicator 11.6.1: Proportion of municipal solid waste collected and managed in controlled facilities out of total municipal waste generated, by cities
- Indicator 11.6.2: Annual mean levels of fine particulate matter (e.g. PM2.5 and PM10) in cities (population weighted)
Target 11.7: By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities
- Indicator 11.7.1: Average share of the built-up area of cities that is open space for public use for all, by sex, age and persons with disabilities See metadata :
- Indicator 11.7.2: Proportion of persons victim of physical or sexual harassment, by sex, age, disability status and place of occurrence, in the previous 12 months
Target 11.a: Support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning
- Indicator 11.a.1: Number of countries that have national urban policies or regional development plans that (a) respond to population dynamics; (b) ensure balanced territorial development; and (c) increase local fiscal space
Target 11.b: By 2020, substantially increase the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, and develop and implement, in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030, holistic disaster risk management at all levels
- Indicator 11.b.1: Number of countries that adopt and implement national disaster risk reduction strategies in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030
- Indicator 11.b.2: Proportion of local governments that adopt and implement local disaster risk reduction strategies in line with national disaster risk reduction strategies