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Equity Guide for Sustainable Communities

by Emma Timboy-Pickering Jul 24, 2011

Kids Planting a Tree

From an email from PolicyLink, a national institute focused on economic and social equity:

PolicyLink has created a guide to help prospective Sustainable Communities applicants effectively address equity in their proposals. The 2011 Equity Guide for Sustainable Communities includes checklists and highlights for each rating factor as well as promising practices from the first round of grants.

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In 4 Cities, Bicycling Advances as Safe Transportation Option

by Don Knapp Jul 20, 2011

Bicycle Lane

This week's news and blog headlines shared forward progress from four cities working to making bicycling easier, safer, and more prevalent on their streets.


Bicycle or Bike Sign Square ThumbChicago's New Protected Bike Lanes (TheCityFix)
Along with a new mayor, Chicago got its first protected bike lanes this past month. Funded by a federal grant, the Chicago Department of Transportation is installing the half-mile bike lane as a pilot program.


Bicycle or Bike Sign Square ThumbBicycle Safety Plan Rolled Out for Boston (Sustainable City Network)
Mayor Thomas M. Menino, in conjunction with partner groups announced a new enforcement and education campaign to promote safe behavior among cyclists and drivers in preparation for the city's launch of the new bike-share program, New Balance Hubway.

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A Comeback for PACE Programs? Fingers Are Crossed

by Don Knapp Jul 19, 2011

Capital in Washington, D.C.

PACE has a pulse. Today a group of Congressional leaders introduced legislation that would restore local governments' ability to run property-assessed clean energy (PACE) programs. The bipartisan PACE Protection Act from Reps. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), Dan Lungren (R-Calif.) and Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y.) would again allow cities and counties to help property owners finance energy efficiency and renewable energy modifications for their homes and commercial buildings – without any government subsidies or taxes.

ICLEI USA enthusiastically supports the PACE Protection Act.

PACE programs have been proven to create local jobs and stimulate local economies, help property owners save money and energy, and help communities reach their energy and greenhouse gas reduction goals. A common-sense win-win-win idea that was nevertheless stymied by the Federal Housing Finance Agency's overreaching and myopic decision to block the programs last year.

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Palm Bay, FL, Reaches Out "Down Under" to Share Greener Pastures

by Yvonne Martinez, Palm Bay Public Information Coordinator Jul 17, 2011

Palm Beach blog main image

Warren Mortlock with Deputy City Manager Chad Shoultz, touring Palm Bay'
new city hall annex.

The two-year-old urban born koala never really had a chance.  But the black and white marsupial rescuers called "Pan Da" still managed to capture the hearts and minds of thousands of humans around the globe.  In 2008 Pan Da was orphaned when his "mum" was run over and killed by a car.  Pan Da was rescued, taken to a wildlife hospital in Redland City, Queensland, Australia and later released into the wild with a tracking device.  The Redland City Council created a Facebook page so the public could track the koala's movements and nearly 14,000 fans tuned in.  Pan Da later died but not without demonstrating the importance of sustainability.  "These koala almost run our lives," Warren Mortlock told the Palm Bay City Council during part of a two-week visit to Palm Bay from his home in Redland City.  "They are an important part of our sustainability journey and it really comes down to local government to do something about saving them."

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ICLEI Welcomes Two Councils of Government in the Southeast

by Don Knapp Jul 13, 2011

Welcome Mat

ICLEI is pleased to welcome two regional affiliates to the Southeast Region. Hailing from the capital region of South Carolina, Central Midlands Council of Government serves four counties (Fairfield, Lexington, Newberry and Richland). Recently, Central Midlands COG released and RFP for a regional sustainability plan covering Richland and Lexington counties as well as Columbia, South Carolina’s capital and long-time ICLEI member. ICLEI tools and resources such as the Sustainability Planning Toolkit will help Central Midlands COG develop a strong and effective plan.

Triangle J COG serves a seven-county region including North Carolina’s capital, Raleigh (seeing a trend here…) and has been active in the region’s sustainability conversations for some time now. Similar to Central Midlands COG, Triangle J is starting the process to develop a regional climate action plan. The plan will focus on developing the clean energy economy, for which the Triangle region is already well positions with its leading research institutions and manufactures in smart grid, biofuels and LED lighting.

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Lessons From Four Leading Resilient Cities

by Don Knapp Jul 11, 2011

resilient cities webinar photo

Ever been to Rotterdam, Dresden, Bonn, or Freiburg? All four European cities are steeped in history and culture ... and innovative thinking to address climate change. You can take a virtual tour of these cities by watching a recording of ICLEI's June 2011 webinar, "Lessons From Leading Resilient Cities."

small green arrow icon View the Recorded Webinar (members only)

small green arrow icon View the Presentation Slides (pdf, members only)

In this webinar, both ICLEI staff and local government staff share their takeaways and experiences while touring these cities before and during the Resilient Cities 2011 Congress. Each city is pioneering smart approaches to climate mitigation and adaptation, and holds lessons for communities in the United States.

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Annual Report: How ICLEI Empowers Sustainable Communities

by Don Knapp Jul 06, 2011

iclei 2010 annual report big thumb











ICLEI USA is proud to release our 2010 Annual Report: Empowering Sustainable Communities. Read about our evolution and impact over the past year, and where we’re headed in 2011 and beyond. 

ICLEI USA is the leading organization that supports local governments dedicated to climate action, clean energy, and sustainability. No other organization can match ICLEI’s comprehensive approach, and no organization understands local climate action and sustainability better than we do. Read our Annual Report and you’ll see why.

Look inside for:

  • A list of the most successful climate actions and success stories, from cities and counties coast to coast
  • A list of climate mitigation goals and Five Milestone progress of all U.S. ICLEI member local governments; find out where your city or county stands!
  • ICLEI’s evolving vision to build regional sustainability networks
  • Our plan to develop and deliver new trainings and technical guidance
  • How our tools and software evolved in 2010, and what’s under development for future release

>> View the Annual Report (pdf)

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Grand Rapids Emphasizes Climate Adaptation in Its Sustainability Plan

by Don Knapp Jul 05, 2011

Grand Rapids (credit: Jack Amick via Flickr)

The Grand River and the city of Grand Rapids. Photo credit: Jack Amick via Flickr

The City of Grand Rapids, MI, has joined the handful of sustainability leaders that have codified their climate adaptation work in an approved plan. On June 21, the City Commission amended and updated the City’s five-year Sustainability Plan, which now includes specific language on the need to prepare for climate change impacts, and actions to help the community build resilience to anticipated impacts that will affect the environment and economy of Michigan, such as more frequent heat waves and increased frequency of heavy rainstorms and snowstorms.

City of Grand Rapids logoWhy is this noteworthy? Two reasons. The City’s sustainability measures related to climate adaptation will now be tracked and reported annually, (along with many other targets and outcomes in the Sustainability Plan). This level of accountability ensures progress and creates transparency to the community. Grand Rapids' Office of Energy and Sustainability also works very closely with other City departments and City managers to achieve buy-in on the need for resiliency-related efforts. Buy-in is an essential step for any sustainability initiative, and a prerequisite for Grand Rapids’ Sustainability Plan. This success can be attributed to teamwork and the assignment of champions for each outcome and its targets in the plan. Ask any planner or sustainability coordinator and you’ll likely hear that getting buy-in is no easy task, so it speaks to the City’s effective internal processes.

Adaptation Planning Is Common Sense

ICLEI strongly encourages its members to mainstream climate and disaster risk reduction into their conventional planning processes, project design, and development decision-making—and Grand Rapids provides a great example of how to go about this work.

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