Land Use Leadership Alliance Training Program

The Land Use Law Center, is one of the country’s preeminent organizations dedicated to fostering the development of sustainable communities through the promotion of innovative land use strategies and collaborative decision-making techniques. Through its award winning Land Use Leadership Alliance (LULA) Training Program, the Center puts needed technical and process tools in the hands of local leaders whose decisions create the land use patterns and blueprint for future development and conservation. Since 1995, over 3,000 leaders across five states (including Utah & Colorado) have graduated from the LULA Training Program. The program is also the recipient of the American Planning Association’s (APA) 2009 National Leadership Award for Planning Advocates, for which the APA cited the LULA’s design “to inspire respected local land use leaders and planners to be effective agents of change in their communities” and called it “the most extensive land use leaders training program in the country.”

"A model program for the nation, one that is institutionalizing sustainable development at the local level."
- Paul Johnson, Former Chief of the Natural Resources
Conservation Service, USDA

Program Description

Tiffany Zezula presentingThe LULA training program was founded in 1995 to address general land use matters in the suburban and rural communities of New York State.  Since then, it has expanded to train leaders in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Colorado and its curriculum has grown to include issues faced in urban communities, issues of resiliency & sea level rise, economic development, watershed management and fair & affordable housing.  Each four-day program is designed to meet the needs of its participants and their communities by focusing on both foundational and cutting-edge information related to their priority land use issues.  Participants are given a range of tools and techniques to utilize in both the land use and decision-making contexts.

Participating in the LULA Program

Candidates for this program are respected and objective local leaders who are nominated by the program’s steering committee, sponsors, and trainers. Nominees are often chairs and members of the legislative body; planning and zoning board members; administrative board members; members of other local bodies involved in the land use process; local landowners, developers, business leaders, community activists, and representatives of civic and environmental groups.

LULA Theory & Practice

arm wrestlingWhen accepting nominations, we look for candidates who use law and consensus building theory to help their communities understand that solutions to complex, persistent problems are more likely to be reached through authentic collaborative initiatives than adversarial processes.  Each day, participants in the program engage in lecture-based learning, experiential learning, and unstructured, social interaction with other leaders. Through unstructured components and breakout sessions, participants develop relationships, build trust, and learn from the experiences of other leaders.

The teaching of the LULA program is based on a “train the trainer” model, through which participants are empowered to share their program experience with others. This model encourages the creation of leadership networks, initiates and supports grassroots regionalism, creates opportunities for civic engagement, and fosters sustainable communities. Responsive to the articulated goals of the assembled participants, the LULA curriculum is designed with sufficient flexibility to adjust to participants’ greatest concerns and arms participants with more than just relevant knowledge; most leave with a renewed sense of empowerment to assist their community in its ability to deal with change.


LULA groupMany of the program’s graduates have reported significant success in leading their communities to effective action to preserve historic centers, revitalize their riverfronts, arrest negative development patterns, achieve intermunicipal planning, preserve farm land, and to enhance their economic development prospects through revitalization techniques.

Click here for more information on the LULA program

Resources for LULA Graduates
Tiffany Zezula facilitating LULA groupParticipation in the LULA program does not end after four days.
Below are just a few of the Land Use Law Center’s resources that are available to LULA graduates at any time.

Gaining Ground Database
The Center’s Gaining Ground Information Database features methods used by government to control the use of land in the public interest.  It can be browsed by research topic and includes a collection of federal, state, and local ordinances; commentaries; research papers; and research aids.

Technical Assistance
In addition, graduates can find further information on our website by clicking on upcoming events or by clicking here to view our list of services.

DEC Walkill LULA May 2018