Sustainability Update: US Cities

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Sustainability Plans and Planning


Sustainable Dubuque partners with University of Iowa on sustainability projects: The City of Dubuque has entered into a partnership with the University of Iowa School of Urban and Regional Planning Program's Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC). During the next two academic years, graduate students will assist Dubuque leaders in sustainability planning and analysis for several different areas. Read More 


Portland Metro area's 50-year growth plan wins state approval; designates urban and rural 'reserves': A plan to shape the next 50 years of development and preservation in the tri-county Portland area was approved Friday by the state Land Conservation and Development Commission. The unprecedented plan designates 28,256 acres of urban reserves, which will be considered first when the urban growth boundary is expanded for houses, stores and industries. Another 266,628 acres is designated as rural reserves, meaning it will remain as farms, forests or natural areas until 2060. Read More 


Public Engagement


New Haven recognized by the National League of Cities for combining urban forestry with youth employment strategies: The City of New Haven and the local nonprofit group Urban Resources Initiative (URI) have worked together through several successful initiatives to increase tree coverage, improve the health of the urban forest, involve City youth in tree care, offer job skills to a traditionally underrepresented age group, and provide opportunities to people of all races and incomes to gain experience in managing public land. Read More 


Waste and Recycling


Albany switches to single-stream recycling: Last month, Albany, NY quietly stopped separating residents' recyclables, switching to a new single-stream method that made the city $13,000 in July alone and which officials hope will help keep more trash out of the landfill. Read More 


Sustainable Development


Arlington, VA shows that growth can be green: New data from Arlington County, Virginia, show how the area's well-designed transit corridor has reduced traffic and encouraged walking rather than driving.  Read More 


Green Spaces


Launching a new vision for the L.A. River: The long-awaited Paddle the Los Angeles River pilot program got off to a wobbly start Aug. 8, as two dozen civic leaders in hard hats and bulging life vests kayaked the Sepulveda Basin. "This is the culmination of a new chapter in the history of the Los Angeles River," L.A. City Councilman Tony Cardenas said. "Just because it runs through the city doesn't mean it has to be a dirty, forgotten place." Read More 


Biking and Walking


Complete Streets being added throughout Bay Area: Across the Bay Area and California, cities are removing or narrowing lanes and redesigning hundreds of streets to add bike lanes, speed up transit and improve pedestrian safety. Read More 


Chicago drafts first-ever master plan for pedestrians: The Chicago Pedestrian Plan will establish specific goals on safety, pushing for an end to auto-pedestrian fatalities in 10 years, and reducing walker injuries by vehicles by 50 percent every five years. The document also is meant to serve as a tool for neighborhood organizations seeking ways to improve local streets and will help set priorities for spending public dollars. A draft of the plan is scheduled for release by the end of year. Read More 


According to new poll, two-thirds of New Yorkers support bike lanes: A new Marist poll found that 66 percent of adult New Yorkers support bike lanes, a somewhat higher level of support than the 59 percent recorded in a recent Quinnipiac poll.  The survey findings add to the public opinion research showing a substantial majority of New Yorkers favor bike lanes. Read More 




LA Mayor pursues bus-only lanes as new MTA Chairman: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa launched his new role as MTA board chairman earlier this month with a plan to add at least five more bus-only lanes along major Los Angeles County streets. The agency's first bus-only lane project along a chronically congested roadway was approved in June at a cost of $31.5 million, using mostly federal funds. That proposal ran into stiff opposition from neighborhood groups and some businesses along the route, which worried that the bus-only lane would worsen traffic congestion and hamper customers' access to stores. But the mayor argues that the lane, and several more like it, would help give Los Angeles a "world-class transportation system." Read More 


Cars and Parking


Albany opens first public charging station for electric vehicles: The two-vehicle facility at a Holiday Inn Express in downtown Albany can do a full charge in two to four, or eight to ten hours depending on the setting. The station is the first of what Mayor Jerry Jennings hopes will be 15 spread around the city. Read More 


Sustainable Development


EPA announces green infrastructure partnerships with five capital cities, including Phoenix and D.C.: The EPA's Greening America's Capitals project targets programs to help boost economic development, reduce energy costs, and provide more transportation and housing options to residents. This year's chosen capitals include USDN member cities Phoenix, AZ and Washington, D.C. Read More

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Covering the game changing discussions that are taking place in the realm of sustainability. From the impact of the City of Fayetteville's decision to switch its fleet to biodiesel to Paul Stamet's research in the Pacific Northwest on how mycelia...

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