Sustainable Communities center created
Washington, D.C. — The country’s first Joint Center for Sustainable Communities has been created as a result of the release of the report of President Clinton’s 1996 Council on Sustainable Development. Creation of the center, which will provide a framework for city and county implementation of the council’s recommendations, was announced during a White House press conference attended by Vice President Al Gore, Seattle Mayor Norm Rice; National Association of Counties President and Fulton County, Ga., Commissioner Michael Hightower; Tulsa, Okla., Mayor Susan Savage; NACo President-Elect and Hennepen County, Minn., Commissioner Randy Johnson, Marion County, Ore., Commissioner Randy Franke and Wayne County, Mich., Commissioner Edna Bell.
“The Joint Center represents an affirmative response by the nation’s cities and counties to demonstrate that job creation, environmental protection and social opportunity must be complementary and interrelated goals for the future of our urban center and counties,” says Rice. “We are committed to turning the vision of the President’s Council into reality for the communities that we serve.”
“By combining the leadership and resources of our cities and counties, we will be better able to support demonstration projects that implement innovative approaches to urban and county management and joint planning efforts that tackle issues like brownfields redevelopment and offer on-site and peer-to-peer technical assistance,” Hightower said.
During its first year, the center will focus on:
a Sustainable Community Challenge Program to encourage cities and counties to incorporate recommendations contained within the Council’s report;
Metropolitan Compact/Sustainable Community Initiatives to develop mechanisms that will lead to multi-agency and multi-jurisdictional community strategies involving city, county, state and federal governments;
City/County Innovation Awards to annually recognize communities and their elected officials who have demonstrated leadership and innovative government partnerships that further the goals of sustainability; and
policy and program research to identify barriers and incentives for the creation and implementation of sustainable community strategies on issues like brownfields redevelopment, transportation policies and comprehensive environmental planning.
The center also will design creative leadership training programs for local elected officials, establish a clearinghouse for innovative sustainable community programs and develop peer matching programs to assist communities with the implementation of model programs.
The center is slated to announce its 25-member Advisory Board, to be comprised of business and governmental leaders, soon.