Sustainability Update: North American Cities

Rankings and Awards


Breaking New Ground: Promoting Environmental and Energy Programs in Local Government: A recent report by the IBM Center for the Business of Government presents findings from an International City/County Management Association (ICMA) survey, which asked questions regarding sustainability initiatives.  While over 80% of localities reported initiatives in the area of recycling, transportation, and building energy use, adoption rates were much lower for other sustainability initiatives such as alternative energy generation and workplace alternatives. The sustainability efforts of USDN Member Sarasota County, FL are highlighted in one of eight local government case studies. Read More


Lowering Costs and Finding New Revenue Sources


Asheville LED Street Light Case Study: One-third of Asheville's 20% carbon footprint reduction target will be met by the City's program to replace all 9,000 of the City's street lights with energy efficient LED fixtures accounts.  In a case study prepared by John Cleveland for the USDN Innovation Working Group, Maggie Ullman, Energy Coordinator for the City of Asheville shares her City's successful strategy.  Read More


Sustainability Plans and Planning


Washington D.C. Metropolitan Region on path to sustainability: In light of the recent Greening Greater Washington conference which took place earlier this month at the Smithsonian Museum, Neal Peirce of the Washington Post Writers Group examines the region's green accomplishments and great potential for a sustainable future. Read More 


How to build a greener city: In an article for the Wall Street Journal, journalist Michael Totty asks the question: Can cities be part of the environmental solution instead of part of the problem? He seems generally surprised that the answer is yes. Read More


Sustainability Partnerships


Vancouver's CityStudio: Starting this fall, an expansive course network of students and instructors from Vancouver's six public Universities and Colleges will embark on a long-term collaboration with the City to implement Vancouver's Greenest City 2020 sustainability goals. The initiative, known as CityStudio Vancouver, aims to be an energetic hub and center for sustainability education by creating the world's most innovative inter-institutional campus/city collaboration for learning and implementation of urban sustainability strategies. Read More




DOT partners with Greater Denver to create jobs, add transportation options, and boost development: The US DOT recently committed $1 billion to Denver's Eagle P3 commuter rail project, a 30-mile, two-pronged commuter rail project that will create 4,700 jobs, ease congestion, and bring real transportation choices to the Denver metro region. Read More


Biking and Walking


In bicycle friendly D.C., going car-free is increasingly common: Thanks to alternative transportation options like Zipcar and the Capital Bikeshare program, more than a quarter of the households in D.C. are car-free, compared with 6 percent of homes regionwide. Slightly fewer than half of D.C. households own one car. Regionally, 64 percent have two or more vehicles. Read More


NYC residents asked for suggestions on locations of new bike share stations: New York City officials recently announced a new bikeshare system that will be available to New Yorkers starting in 2012. The City is reaching out to the public to determine locations for 600 bikeshare stations that will be located throughout the City. The city is aiming for an intensive community process, working with residents, business owners, community boards, elected officials and other stakeholders. Read More


Water Resources and Usage


Stormwater becomes art in new Toronto park: Housed in the pavilion basement at Sherbourne Common, a new park in the city's rapidly developing East Bayfront area, Toronto's treatment facility cleans collected storm and lake water with ultraviolet (UV) light. The treated water is then sent underground to the north side of the park where it is released through three nine-metre-high art sculpture towers. The water flows from the tops of the towers down metal mesh veils and into a 240-metre-long water channel, or urban river, where it then flows into Lake Ontario. Read More


Carbon Emissions


Mayor Bloomberg releases annual PlaNYC citywide greenhouse gas inventory and kicks-off Climate Week NYC 2011: In his opening ceremony remarks, Mayor Bloomberg noted that citywide greenhouse gas emissions were down 12 percent since 2005 and the City government's emissions were down nearly five percent in the last fiscal year. 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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