Friday, January 7, 2011

CNT's Sustainability Agenda 2011

The Center for Neighborhood Technology’s 2011 Mayoral & City Council Agenda for Sustainable Development was released on December 22, 2010. The 22 priority agenda was created as guide for Chicago's next mayor to use to create a stronger economy and ensure Chicago remains one of the top prosperous and sustainable cities in the US.

CNT noted that Chicago's unrealized potential when it comes to increasing productivity of its urban economy is present because the city is not investing enough in assets that make organizations run more cheaply and efficiently. CNT’s four overall strategies will bring help Chicago realize these potentials enabling us to further our sustainable development. They are:
  • Energy
    • Ramp up energy conservation with efficiency retrofits of the city's buildings and other cost- and energy-saving measures.
    • This can be reached by retrofitting more housing units each year, demanding energy usage disclosures in building leases, and using less energy during peak periods.
  • Transportation
    • Improve transportation alternatives, encourage development around transit, and champion Chicago's rail assets so people and products can travel affordabley.
    • This can be reached by finding new innovative ways to create funding for alternative transportation, secure a higher percentage of funds from the state, ensure higher costs for drivers, and create public transit incentives. 
  • Stormwater Management
    • Strengthen benchmarks and incentives to encourage value-enhancing green infrastructure to manage stormwater and avoid costly flooding to private property.
    • This can be done by creating incentives for property owners to use green infrastructure, strengthen stormwater ordinances and policies, and devise a city retrofitting plan. 
  • Climate Change
    • Reduce climate change emissions by pursuing the above strategies and implementing low-carbon, low-cost goals for municipal operations.
    • This can be done by implementing the Chicago Climate Action Plan, making energy efficiency Chicago's highest priority, adapt to climate change with stormwater management, set a zero waste emissions goal, and institute low-carbon municipal operations. 
CNT's has created this agenda based on the belief that sustainable development is economical development. Putting their strategies into play will increase job creation, increase Chicago resident's income, protect the environment, give Chicago companies a competitive advantage, and save the city a lot of money.

View all 22 priorities here.

Chicago has the opportunity to become the most productive city to live and work in the United States. As we begin to champion these priorities, innovation and leadership will emerge from Chicago.

This reminds me of The Ecology of Commerce by Paul Hawken; he speaks about how sustainable development is innovation. Creating products and jobs through sustainable guidelines will create jobs and modify those jobs that would be eliminated by more efficient operations. By the elimination of externalizing costs and the implementation of green fees or the like, companies will be enticed into looking at alternative, more cost effective ways to operate.

It will be interesting to see how the new mayor reacts to the agenda.
Will the notion of already having a set guide/agenda make the mayor more likely to embrace Climate Action in Chicago?

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