bringing sustainability to small-town america
But finding significant green practices in smaller towns in the United States can be more difficult, many of which are trying to stay alive and have difficulty raising resources for new initiatives of any kind.
The International municipal/County Management Association conducted a detailed investigation of 1,844 cities in 2010 (ICMA)
Discover the smallest community (
Population of less than 5,000 people)
Only the third large community, like 100,000 or more, has the potential to take sustainability measures.
However, residents in rural and small areas, like urban residents, should have a clean and healthy environment.
In fact, these places are still important for Americans: polls show that more Americans prefer to live in small towns or rural areas (30 percent)
Than living there now (22 percent)
Prefer to live in small towns or rural areas rather than in cities (28 percent).
The good news is that some green initiatives are starting to emerge in small businesses, which is an excellent example. town America.
While these communities often lack the institutional capacity and financial resources to take major initiatives, they do have the benefit of flexibility.
Even a leader will make a difference.
Moreover, in order to have a significant impact in smaller communities, initiatives do not necessarily need to be \"big \".
Even small grants or loans provided by governments or charities can have a significant impact on the town.
In some cases, small towns find themselves able to use the resources available outside the community to enable them to carry out sustainable development efforts that are sufficient to compete with big cities.
In this blog post, I\'ll mention a few examples to illustrate the possible scope, but keep in mind that any one is worth posting your own. (
I will try to provide links to interested readers for more information. )
In any case, they deserve our applause and encouragement.
Put the green in greensberger and start with a big one. Among small-
There is nothing more to celebrate than the comprehensive green strategy currently being implemented in Greensburg, Kansas (
Population, as of 2013, 785).
It was born in a tragic event that no one wanted to happen in any community: Greensburg was destroyed by a tornado in 2007, killing 13 people and destroying or severely damaging 95% of town buildings.
At that time, Greensburg was not sure whether it would be rebuilt.
But citizens know that if they do, they must do the tremendous effort they need with a strong sense of purpose.
Well thought out, with the strong support of the Kansas government, this goal comes in an environmental form: it\'s one of the boldest moves I \'ve seen in any community, greensburg citizens have decided to use the state and federal disaster recovery fund to rebuild in an astonishing new capacity. Turn this town into the most eco-friendly town in the country. The near-
The long-term outcome is the Greensburg comprehensive plan for sustainable development, which is committed to reducing the carbon footprint of the community by half and adopting state-of-the-art environmental practices.
Including green buildings;
A reconstructed, walkable, mixeduse downtown;
Green infrastructure for managing rain;
Power the town with renewable energy.
Greensburg is going well today.
Patrick Quinn wrote in the USA Today Green Life magazine in 2013: \"Six years after the tornado, Greensburg is LEED-
Certified building per capita.
There are half of this town. dozen LEED-
Platinum certified building including new City Hall and new 48,500-square-
Kiwara County Memorial Hospital. Renewable [mostly wind]
The energy is powering the entire community, and the street lights are LED.
\"In this effort, one cannot exaggerate the importance of leadership.
Greensburg resident Daniel varach is considered the first person to come up with the idea that the town can become a typical green community in Quinn\'s article;
Wallach subsequently created and still maintained the Greensburg Green City, a news and information exchange center on community reconstruction efforts.
Another local leader is the Bucklin Tractor and tools company, BTI, a dealer at John Deere;
The company not only rebuilt its own facilities into LEED-
Platinum standards, but also started a new branch of the business, BTI wind, to market small-
Large wind turbines that meet the energy needs of individual farms and businesses.
BTI subsequently established a network of Harvest The Wind dealers to sell, serve and support Wind energy products in North America. (
Greensburg is a great story, too rich to tell in this blog post.
More international information about this town
The recognized leadership for sustainable development starts here. )
The visible steps, the situation of a few Greensburg at a time is unique --
The tornado means the town has to start over and it has a lot of external resources to help with the work --
The town is making full use of it.
For most small communities, however, green means taking small steps.
Nevertheless, these steps are still powerful, not only because of what they have accomplished directly, but also because of their impact on education.
ICMA report referenced at the beginning of this blog post (
Challenge opportunities: Sustainability in rural and small places)
Features, for example, the town of Columbus in Wisconsin (
Population 4,991 in 2010).
In 2007, Columbus received a $40,000 grant from a regional energy wholesaler for a new staff position responsible for advancing the dual goals of economic development and sustainable development.
Subsequently, the town, in the words of employee Steve Sobeck, promised to \"create a marketing image of a green community, sustainable community for the city of columbusb \".
Visible green improvements include high
LED street light, plug-in hybrid city vehicle
Station in the municipal parking lot, energy-
Efficiency audits and upgrades of municipal offices and services, as well as small subsidies for energy and water efficiency work and tree planting by homeowners.
This is important for any community, especially for a community of this size.
But the advantage of small companies is that Columbus\'s small companies have made such great financial progress.
City officials believe that the commitment to environmental protection has brought huge dividends to the realization of its economic goals.
The report said: \"articles on these projects appear in the Journal of economic development and architecture across the state, which brings a lot of economic development clues to Sobiek.
In the 12 months leading up to the fall of 2012, the city received approximately $30 million in capital investment, including a new housing development, an assisted living center, and expansion of packaging operations.
An art incubator chose Columbus instead of Madison, and a local pump maker broke ground on a larger facility that would be the backbone of a new business park.
\"Columbus has many desirable features: it is less than 30 miles from the state capital, right on the highway.
But many communities in the region also share these benefits.
Former City chief executive [Boyd]
Kraemer estimates that 50% of his community\'s recent success is due to its sustainable marketing program. \"(
The ICMA report was written by George Holmes of Binghamton (NY)
Cornell University and Mildred Warner. )
Recent sustainability efforts in South Daytona, Florida also target energy efficiency (
Population 12,252 in 2010).
According to ICMA, nandaytona completed its greenhouse gas emissions inventory for its own operations and the entire community in 2009.
The city has adopted its target of reducing emissions by 25% from 2008 levels by 2031.
So far, the city has focused on the energy conservation of municipal facilities by shifting to more efficient lighting, installing solar water heaters in the fire department, and educating employees on energy use.
The city also replaced the lights in the parking lot with more efficient fixtures and found that other lights could be turned off completely without affecting safety.
In the near future, the city is considering providing low-interest loans for energy improvement, providing owners with free trees to increase the overall canopy of the community, in the electricity purchased by the city, replace fossil fuels with renewable energy.
In order to improve the efficiency of water use, the city began to offer a rebate of $50 for ultra-
Low flush model. (
According to ICMA, 40% of household water is usually washed off the toilet. )
Other communities in the ICMA study include Homer, Alaska (
Sleep and eye hotels in Minnesota (
West freedom, Iowa (
Hurricane Utah (
And corny, ne (
Bringing back the main streets many smaller communities retain the traditional shopping streets, although often not investing at this point, because in the second half of the 20 th century, so many retail businesses fled the city center and went to the shopping center,
Today, these historical centers provide a good urban structure for consolidating economic development efforts.
Some communities note that, if successful, these efforts help the environment by recycling buildings and infrastructure, giving priority to walking capacity, and by avoiding the increment of suburban expansion that erodes the rural landscape, extended driving distance and subsequent emissions.
I\'m not sure if I \'ve seen an example of a better \"Main Street\" revival than Corning Market Street, New York (
I wrote Corning in detail earlier this year, proposing five key elements that I believe can make the main streets more likely to prosper: in Corning, established in 1974, Market Street restoration by providing free design advice to businesses exploring new signage and elevation restoration, supporting the vitality of historic neighborhoods, by supporting residential development and restoration of the upper floors of Market Street buildings, education programs and publicity on historical protection.
Nationwide, the National Main Street Center is a subsidiary of the National Historical Protection Trust Fund, providing a range of resources for those interested in revitalizing the old business district.
Finally, the sustainability of any community is inseparable from its land use practices.
This is especially true in smaller towns where the lack of capacity to create and implement good planning and policies can make it easy to design poorly and develop a special culture at will (
And give up the well-
Properties that are feasible)to prevail.
But there are many things that can be done on these issues to guide the right development to the right place to support the vitality of the economy, society and the environment.
It must be a coordinated, multi-gold standard. faceted, small-
An example of urban land use planning work is the work that started in the neighboring town of Lansen in 2011 (
Town of Charles (
In West Virginia.
Shortly after work started, I described Ranson and Charles Town\'s efforts in an article.
The work was promising at the time, and today it started to pay dividends. (
Note: Earlier this month, I joined the planning consulting firm PlaceMakers, which was deeply involved in the planning process for Ranson and Charles Town.
I am not involved in these efforts. )
In particular, the community has sought and utilized several sources of federal funding in an innovative, fairly comprehensive planning effort.
With the support of the Ministry of Transport, Housing and Urban Development and the Environmental Protection Agency,
Federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities-
The following work was done impressively in Lanson and Charles Town: Wow.
It\'s great for such a big town.
Since my 2011 summary (
To be fair, it also expresses some concerns about the work)
In April 2012, the planned area was 6,700 acres and integrated planning was adopted. An area-
The town of Lanson and Charles also adopted a broad brown belt reconstruction plan in 2012.
In December 2, 2013, $100 million in community revitalization and economic development projects were broken, including along the \"green corridor\" on ferfax Avenue and George Street. (
For more information on Ranson and Charles Town achievements, please see Ranson\'s website Renewed, this summary of Smart Growth America, especially the short video at the end of this blog post. )
It must be said that few small towns have sufficient resources for large-scale planning --
And solved so many problems.
As Ranson and Charles Town say.
In this case, the community has benefited a lot from federal funds, which have become more difficult to use because of the budget. slashing.
However, many communities may be able to take one or more of these initiatives and find government and/or charitable support for that.
Incremental steps are important.
The successful key ICMA report lists six \"key points\" for the organization to study small businesses\"
This seems to be a good suggestion for me.
The short video below shows what it looks like when some of these ingredients are placed in a real place
World situation: Move the cursor over the image for credit information.
Kaid Benfield wrote about the community, development and environment in Huffington Post and other national media.
Kaid\'s new book is habitat: 25 ways to think about greener, healthier cities.