Sustainable You

Sustainability and the Built Environment

4900/6900: Wk 15 Sustainable Communities

Response due at the beginning of class on 4/26.

Weekly 5pt question topic:

We will spend the last class of the semester talking about Sustainable Communities.

Tucson, Arizona is the city that I consider home since I grew up there and all my family is there. It is in my blood even if I dont live there now. Photo by gdrosky

The concept behind Sustainable Communities is a holistic approach to developing cities around sustainable development principles. Ultimately, if you took all the individual topics we have covered this semester we have created a majority of the topics needed to develop a sustainable community or a comprehensive picture of what is sustainability in our built environment. This week’s post should include a comprehensive inclusion of a variety of topics we have discussed over the semester.

1. Visit the Minnesota website for Next Step Sustainable Communities in Minnesota (Next Step website)

2. Visit the SustainLane’s 2008 US Cities Rankings for Sustainable Cities

3. Using the resources above and the course discussion list all the diverse areas that are needed in order to have a sustainable community. Next Step website does a nice job laying out the “Topic Areas” of a sustainable community. However, Next Step is missing some important areas that are either on the Sustain Lane site or discussed in class (Hint: has to do with social sustainability and equality).

4) Pick either the city that you consider HOME (usually,HOME is where our family is, where we grew up, or the place we know we want to settle to create our new family)

4a. ) Write about what your city would look like if it was a sustainable community. For some cities this may include both fact and fiction. Use the links above and class discussion topics to develop the multi-faceted areas that involve a sustainable community. This will include envisioning your city from a broad scope including water, air, transportation to social equity, jobs, affordable housing, etc….


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Filed under: Sustainable Design

16 Responses

  1. Katherine Holland says:

    1. Visited the Minnesota website.
    2. Visited the SustainLane’s 2008 U.S. Cities Rankings for Sustainable Cities.
    3. Having a sustainable community involves many diverse areas. Some diverse areas of sustainability in the community involve topics such as: agriculture/local food, air quality, tap water quality, the innovation of the city, waste management, transportation ways, green building, planning and land use. All of these are important in making up a sustainable community. It is also important for the community members to have access to current knowledge/education relating to sustainable communities. A healthy community that is also knowledgeable can help make the housing more affordable, and the overall environmental quality can affect human health. I believe that educating community members about sustainability in their living environment can improve the way they treat their community and change how they chose to be involved. It is important for community members to become involved in deciding the boundaries of their community and how to make their community more sustainable.
    4. My home is in Atlanta, Georgia. My immediate family and most of my friends are from Atlanta, and that is where I grew up.
    4a. Atlanta, Georgia is certainly following sustainable trends in their communities. The SustainLane website says, “Atlanta leads the southeast in LEED-registered buildings. Atlanta is slowly working on the reduction of urban sprawl by working on new transit-oriented development plans. Atlanta is definitely trying, but like many other cities, has a ways to go in creating sustainable communities. If Atlanta were a sustainable community, many positive changes would be involved. Atlanta’s new sustainability plan would include topics such as: the promotion of buying locally grown food, maybe having more local farmers markets, improving water conservation practices, maintaining their natural habitats, focus on supporting their local economy, maintaining healthy residents who are also happy, and providing more urban planning for walk ability to promote a cleaner air quality. I would instill a new waste management program into the city to reduce the amount of total waste going into the city landfills. The city of Atlanta would have to promote more recycling options, green waste, and composting programs. Atlanta’s city innovations and designs would focus on green building, promote carpooling, and create more environmentally preferred purchasing programs to involve proper green products and services. I would love to see the city of Atlanta become more and more sustainable over the years. I plan on living there for a long time and I would love to see and experience the shifts towards sustainability in my community!

  2. Adam Nowaczyk says:

    3. Using the resources above and the course discussion list all the diverse areas that are needed in order to have a sustainable community. Next Step website does a nice job laying out the “Topic Areas” of a sustainable community. However, Next Step is missing some important areas that are either on the Sustain Lane site or discussed in class (Hint: has to do with social sustainability and equality).

    Agriculture – rooftop gardens/green roofs, maximizing open space,

    Buildings/Land Use – footprint size, building up instead of out, source reduction for new construction, Smart Growth, sustainable sites,

    Business
    Pollution prevention, green business development

    Communities
    MN GreenStep Cities, indicators, citizen participation, community development

    Ecosystems
    Ecosystem-based management, biodiversity through planting native plants, maximizing open space

    Education
    Curricula, education on sustainability, also teaching people about the technology and how to use it properly

    Energy
    Clean energy, energy efficiency, renewable and distributed energy

    Individual Choices
    Green living, simplicity, personal transformation, creating grassroots alternatives

    Statewide/Global
    The latest information on state, national and global issues

    Transportation
    Transportation alternatives, nonmotorized transportation

    Water
    Safe drinking water supply, Wastewater treatment, Water conservation, Lakes and Rivers, Groundwater, Stormwater management

    4) Pick either the city that you consider HOME (usually,HOME is where our family is, where we grew up, or the place we know we want to settle to create our new family)

    4a. ) Write about what your city would look like if it was a sustainable community. For some cities this may include both fact and fiction. Use the links above and class discussion topics to develop the multi-faceted areas that involve a sustainable community. This will include envisioning your city from a broad scope including water, air, transportation to social equity, jobs, affordable housing, etc….

    I’ll go with my hometown of Saginaw, MI. The place is a cesspool of violence and crime now. It started becoming that way in the 80s, and there’s been no sign of turnaround. Within the last few years the FBI listed it as the most dangerous city per capita. It was an automobile city, like many in Michigan. When they pulled out there was just a huge void that has never been filled. The police don’t seem to care too much, they’re too reactive instead of being proactive. It’s about 150,000 people or so, with a larger metro area of about 200,00. There’s a nice downtown area (aesthetically speaking) and a great amount of potential to do something unique and transformational in terms of creating a sustainable community.

    I paint that picture of Saginaw, because like so many Midwestern cities, I feel that the local, state and federal governments have turned their backs on these cities. They’ve given up hope completely. I think this is a wrong answer.

    I use Saginaw as an example of what could be done to not only create a sustainable community, but also to revitalize one. These thoughts have been in my head for a while now, but I originally thought of them in terms of Detroit (about 2 hours south of Saginaw).

    – Tear down old abandoned buildings that are being used for drugs, prostitution, murder and other crimes. Salvage some of the materials and reuse them. Once these spaces are once again vacant lots, there could be an effort to turn them into green space, or even urban agriculture, both of which are important to sustainable communities.

    – Restore some of the old abandoned buildings. Saginaw has a lot of beautiful architecture that has fallen into disrepair. I’ve been thinking lately about a program that can house the homeless while preserving historic properties and making them sustainable. Essentially a homeless (or near homeless) individual or family would be able to secure an historic property under the conditions that it is restored and greened. This scenario would involve teaching the resident about historic preservation and sustainability. (I also think this is a good idea for any community, building concentrated housing for lower-income individuals is a way of segregating them from the rest of society. How would we expect someone to develop new skills, attitudes or ways of life if they are surrounded by people in that exact same situation they are? You start living in a bubble. I think it’s common sense to not have concentrated poverty, but that’s just me.)

    (I am a board member for The Stable Foundation here in town. It’s a housing first non-profit program, which means if someone is homeless or near homeless we supply them with housing. Housing is at the foundation of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, without shelter there is no hope of someone being able to reach self-actualization, which really is a root cause for a lot of issues with Saginaw’s crime and violence. The Stable Foundation has a 98% success rate and benchmarks are set in order to transition people into stable living conditions.)

    – I also think encouraging people to move to the downtown area is a good idea. With that idea though, it is also important to provide basic services near residences, or create new mixed use developments to incorporate basic services into new construction. This is important because people could essentially never have to use a car or leave a few block radius. When I lived in Chicago there would be months that I wouldn’t leave an 8 block radius, because I didn’t have to. Everything was nearby!

    – Better public transit for all. Public transit for me is really one of the most sustainable choices a community or area can make. Reducing automobile use is sustainable. But there are so many other benefits to reducing automobile use. Cleaner air, less traffic and the ability for residents to interact with each other are all results of public transit. I think a community that is more familiar with each other is more likely to work together. I’m not sure what kind of public transit I would like to see, buses most likely, but street cars could get people really excited about public transit, just because they’re fun.

    – The Saginaw River and Bay Area are heavily polluted and used for commercial purposes. Since no one really wants to live on these bodies of water I think a solar and wind harnessing energy system could be set up along the river or on the bay shore (places where it’s usually windy). It would reduce the need for fossil fuels and provide clean and renewable energy. People usually complain about eyesore that wind turbines can be, but honestly it would look a hell of a lot better than what is there now.

    I think with this few things (and a massive overhaul of public safety) Saginaw has the potential to be a leader in the green movement. I haven’t given up hope in the idea that this could work. But this would require a massive amount of capital and time. I’m not so sure people can get behind this idea, but I do think with the right amount of education and willingness of the people that it is possible.

  3. Megan Greene says:

    1. N/A
    2. N/A
    3. NEXT STEP: Agriculture
    Sustainable agriculture, food, forestry, gardening
    Buildings
    Green buildings, housing, materials, siting
    Business
    Pollution prevention, green business development
    Communities
    MN GreenStep Cities, indicators, citizen participation, community development
    Ecosystems
    Ecosystem-based management, biodiversity
    Education
    Curricula, education on sustainability
    Energy
    Clean energy, energy efficiency, renewable and distributed energy Individual Choices
    Green living, simplicity, personal transformation, creating grassroots alternatives
    Land Use
    Planning and zoning, Smart Growth
    Statewide/Global
    The latest information on state, national and global issues
    Transportation
    Transportation alternatives, nonmotorized transportation
    Water
    Safe drinking water supply, Wastewater treatment, Water conservation, Lakes and Rivers, Groundwater, Stormwater management

    SUSTAINLANE: air and water quality, city programs, waste management, transportation, green biz and economy, water supply, built environment, and natural disaster risk.
    OTHER AREAS: equal opportunities, freedom of expression, affordable homes, skills gaps, labor shortages, fair labor conditions, etc.
    4. Houston, Texas
    5. Houston seems to be attempting to apply sustainable practices to aspects of energy in particular. The SustainLane website says that in July of 2008, Houston was the country’s leading municipal purchaser of green power, with about a quarter of its energy coming from wind. I think this is a major step in becoming a sustainable community. If Houston were a sustainable community, they would buy locally grown or caught food, have an improved economy with fair labor conditions and a low unemployment rate, create more jobs, the city would provide greater carpooling options, recycle mass amounts, and clean up nearby water. SustainLane also says that Houston lacks any sort of zoning code. I actually completely understand what the website is saying by this because I have witnessed it myself. Stores are just built wherever is most convenient, not in any sort of pattern. This makes it difficult for customers to get around to all of these places, especially with rising gas prices. Houston would need to have larger bus routes, which would save gas, lessen pollution, and allow for greater carpooling. In my neighborhood, they have provided us with recycling containers that are almost as big as trashcans. In order to become a more sustainable community, more neighborhoods need to provide homes with large recycling containers in order to show the importance of recycling, since that is still an area that Houston is lacking in. Also, the Gulf of Mexico has been seriously polluted by the oil spill and other trash. If Houston were more sustainable, they would put a priority on protecting this water, which is such a valuable resource. I think Houston should take more advantage of the proximity to the Gulf of Mexico to get more local fish and other seafood. Houston should also use the nearby farming land to grow agriculture to sell locally. This could create more jobs to help out the unstable economy. Houston is starting to take action, but they just need to get more people involved. I think they are definitely on the right track, but still have a long way to go.

  4. ashley Walker says:

    1. visited the Minnesota website
    2. visited 2008 city ranking for sustainability
    3. areas that are needed to have a sustainable community is:
    Agriculture, Buildings, Business, Communities, Ecosystems, Education, Energy, Individual Choices, Land use, Statewide/global information, Transportation, Water, and waste management.
    4. Well i am from Los Angeles, California and everyone knows that that city is everything but sustainable. The smog and air quality is horrible, the water is polluted, and it is just horrible out there. If LA were to become sustainable, buildings would not just be thrown up and not in use. I think it is horrible when trees are cut down to throw up a building that is not even going to be put to use, or rented out for a small amount of time then it is vacant. I think school will teach more on sustainability that way it will encourage to make better individual choices. Because LA is one of the busiest cities in the nation the transportation effects the ecosystem. It is all a ripple/domino effect. Because everything is so close in the city I think people should ride bikes more often and to cut down on the smog, they should car pool. The landfills in LA are so horrible. Honestly the problems out there are so GRAND that to be honest I wouldn’t even know where to begin to start cleaning that place up. I’m guessing the best way to start would be individual choices. If individuals don’t change then it is going to be next to impossible to change things.

  5. Katie Jones says:

    3. Agriculture
    Sustainable agriculture, food, forestry, gardening
    Buildings
    Green buildings, housing, materials, siting
    Business
    Pollution prevention, green business development
    Communities
    MN GreenStep Cities, indicators, citizen participation, community development
    Ecosystems
    Ecosystem-based management, biodiversity
    Education
    Curricula, education on sustainability
    Energy
    Clean energy, energy efficiency, renewable and distributed energy
    Individual Choices
    Green living, simplicity, personal transformation, creating grassroots alternatives
    Land Use
    Planning and zoning, Smart Growth
    Statewide/Global
    The latest information on state, national and global issues
    Transportation
    Transportation alternatives, nonmotorized transportation
    Water
    Safe drinking water supply, Wastewater treatment, Water conservation, Lakes and Rivers, Groundwater, Stormwater management

    Other areas: The importance of a low-stress lifestyle, numerous job opportunities, social acceptance, sufficient amount of wages, etc.

    4. Atlanta, GA

    4a. The first thing that comes to mind when I think of a more sustainable Atlanta, GA is the need for a more sufficient public transportation system. I know that the city is currently planning on putting in a Betline system, I am skeptical on how successful this project is going to be. Because Atlanta is so spread out,having a car is a must when living in/and around the city. If the public transportation system were safer/went more places, this would then lower the fumes and other wastes from our cars and also would lower the amount of traffic going in and around the city. This would no only help the air quality/pollution, but would also create a more happy/lower stress environment for those having to currently travel 2 hours just to get home to their homes and families. On the sustain lane website, it says that Atlanta leads the southeast in LEED registered buildings. Therefore, the city is working to become a more sustainable environment. In order to better improve the city, I think the city needs a better waste management program and our citizens needs to demand better water quality. Also, because it the area is so spread out, we don’t rank very high on the planning and land usage. We also need to greater educate our society on the needs for sustainability and get the entire community involved.

  6. Karen Cotton says:

    1. Visited the Minnesota website (Next Step website)

    2. Visited the Sustain Lane’s 2008 US Cities Rankings for Sustainable Citites

    3. The diverse areas that are needed in order to have a sustainable community are a) Agriculture b) Buildings c) Communities d) Ecosystems e) Education f) Energy g) Individual choices h) Land use i) Statewide/Global j) Transportation and K) Water.

    4. My home city is Atlanta.

    4a. Some of the things that make my city a sustainable community is the revitalization that is taking place in some of the run down neighbors close to downtown. At one point the majority of folks moved to the outskirts of the city which met that they did a lot of driving to get into the city to work and/or play. That met alot of traffic, pollution, accidents and parents time away from their children.

    Atlanta has a lot of parks for example Piedmont Park and Chastain Park that are truly enjoyed by all walks of life. Many people know that there is limited parking when they attend events; therefore, they carpool and/or walk to events. The Atlanta Police continous monitors the area to cut down on loiters and crime.

    The building of Atlanta Station has definitely brought people back to the city. The residence can walk to the grocery store, movies, restaurants, etc. Also, public transportation is readily available. This area has also created a lot of jobs.

    One downfall that Atlanta has is that the transit system is running out of money and they need for the folks to vote for a 1% tax increase so that they can upgrade and expand the system. There are many folks for some reason who are oposig this. They dod not want people to be able to use the bus or train to get to their neighborhoods. They want to keep folks away. However, it’s amazing and/or unfortunate that crime still happens in their neighborhoods and its mostly committed by the neighborhood teenagers.

  7. Maggie Benoit says:

    Sustainable Community
    – clean water
    – good air quality
    – good food quality (access + price are important, also)
    – personal/mental wellness (how can one be best equipped to brace the world on a personal level)
    – personal health (regulating health must take precedence before attention can be paid outside my person)
    – culture of community (people need to be inspired)
    – group initiatives (we cannot do it alone)
    – efficient hierarchies with fair rights (we cannot do it alone, but there needs to be structure in order to accomplish anything and move forward)
    – business initiatives (how can business help, not hurt)
    – education (making people aware so they can add to the conversation, get involved, broaden perspectives)
    – agriculture (looking at the source, starting from the ground up)
    – land (being smart about its use)
    – infrastructure / buildings / design (add to environment, not take away from)
    – labor (fair practices, pay, more opportunity)
    – energy (track how energy is being used so we can “use it better”)
    – transportation (alternate options that are easy to access)
    – trade (between community individuals, and also between the community + those outside of the community, instigating commerce)

    What would Athens, Georgia look like as a sustainable community? I think this concept invites two areas of change. Firstly, a SustainableAthens must do its job in upholding a legacy. Second, it must embrace change in a way that is inviting to future development that can add to the city, the lives that people lead in it, and the jobs and opportunities that can be created thereafter. I’ve been thinking about this a lot for my project. I wrote this prior to this post, but it is fitting: It is being mindful about what the past, present, and future of the community looks like. It is taking action to tie these phases together in a way that makes sense and adds to people’s lives. To me, sustainability means taking action, offering solutions to problems. SustainableAthens means looking at the options available, both within the community, and as ties outside of the bubble. Talking about creating a sustainable community means asking, it means asking those involved to paint a picture (ie. “We’d like a fresh farmers market with reasonably priced organic food,” “we’d like green space,” “we’d like good paying jobs,” “we’d like to enjoy what Athens has to offer AND make some money at the same time,” etc.) From here takes strategy. How can we make our desires practical? What solutions can we offer? Here’s where a lot of brainstorming and collaboration must occur. And of course, it’s important to look at other places that have tackled the concept of a sustainable community well. Mapping out these models lends a good positive/ negative scale to work from + starts to lay some quantifiable steps to move forward with.

  8. Mary Alice Jasperse says:

    1.
    2.
    3. In order for a community to be sustainable, it must be able to source all means of survival and dispose/recycle all waste within a small amount of space. When looking at the most sustainable cities in the U.S., all of them are really big cities. This is because they have people living in high-rises, not in subdivisions. People should be able to walk to restaurants and the grocery store, farms should be on the outskirts of the community (because land prices are lower), and farmers can bring foods into town on market days. The most drastic change in sustainable communities must come from the mindset of the inhabitants of the community. The challenge in coming years will be transforming unsustainable communities into ones with greater ability to sustain themselves.
    4. My “home” is Jasper, GA. It takes me 15 minutes to drive to town, or to a real grocery store. Most areas are very rural, or very yuppie-rural. Few people walk. In order to bike to town, you’d have to have Tour de France-style leg muscles.
    4b. In order to transform my town into a more sustainable version of itself, I think there should be many small epicenters across the county, rather than one town hub. Right now, there’s one city center that’s really spread out, forcing people to drive wherever they need to go. The key to sustainable rural areas is clustering populations around small hubs that may only have a farmer’s co-op and a restaurant, and having high populations of people within walking distance of those places. Many of the mountain communities near my house have their own post offices and restuarants, olympic-sized indoor pools, saunas, and all that jazz. But they don’t have a CSA drop off or strong relationships with local farmers. To me, in order to live more sustainably, people need to cluster homes, support their local restaurants and farmers, and take the first small steps towards sustainability. If we were talking about an urban environment, it is absolutely necessary to live in a high-density way. These high-density populations allow restaurants and farmer’s markets to target places where there are many potential patrons. We need to rethink space and, to some extent “the American Dream.” Is it the 1950’s ideal of a white picket fence and one acre of land anymore?

  9. Danielle McDaniel says:

    1. N/A
    2. N/A
    3. The categories of a sustainable community include: agriculture, buildings, business, communities, ecosystems, education, individual choices, land use, statewide vs. global issues, transportation, and water. Other things include: clean air, and understanding what it takes to have a low stress life.
    4. My home is Savannah, GA.
    4a. Savannah in some ways has already started finding ways to be more sustainable. The city has started picking up recycling bins along with regular trash pickup. Coming from a design standpoint, affordable sustainable homes would be a priority. Educating builders on sustainable homes and the upkeep for those homes would be important. Also, a more sustainable city layout would be important. Downtown Savannah is built on a series of squares which makes walking downtown rather easy. But to walk in the actual city is somewhat difficult.

  10. Melissa Worth says:

    3. Using the resources above and the course discussion list all the diverse areas that are needed in order to have a sustainable community. Next Step website does a nice job laying out the “Topic Areas” of a sustainable community. However, Next Step is missing some important areas that are either on the Sustain Lane site or discussed in class (Hint: has to do with social sustainability and equality).

    Air—clean air
    Agriculture—sustainable agriculture, food, forestry, gardening
    Buildings—green buildings, housing, materials, siting
    Business—pollution prevention, green business development
    Communities—MN GreenStep Cities, indicators, citizen participation, community development
    Ecosystems—ecosystem-based management, biodiversity
    Education—curricula, education on sustainability
    Energy—clean energy, energy efficiency, renewable & distributed energy
    Individual choices—green living, simplicity, personal transformation, creating grassroots alternatives
    Innovation—more of a cradle-to-cradle mindset
    Land use—planning & zoning, Smart Growth
    National disaster risk—hurricanes, major flooding, etc. need to be considered in terms of frequency & extent of damage
    Social sustainability/equity—all people should have the same resources to become sustainable (EX: some people can’t afford to buy organic)
    Statewide/Global—the latest information on state, national & global issues
    Transportation—transportation alternatives, nonmotorized transportation
    Water—safe drinking water supply, Wastewater treatment, Water conservation, Lakes & Rivers, Groundwater, Stormwater management

    4a. ) Write about what your city would look like if it was a sustainable community. For some cities this may include both fact and fiction. Use the links above and class discussion topics to develop the multi-faceted areas that involve a sustainable community. This will include envisioning your city from a broad scope including water, air, transportation to social equity, jobs, affordable housing, etc….
    I’m from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, and while in some ways, my community is already sustainable, there is a lot of room for improvement. For example: a lot of people already buy organic, locally-grown food, but there is a huge disparity between the rich & the poor. Ponte Vedra is a very wealthy community, and we have some of the best schools in the nation, but the schools in Jacksonville, which are only about 15 minutes away, are some of the worst in the nation, and not everyone can afford to send their kids to private school. Also, people from Ponte Vedra like to consume a lot of excess material possessions. For example: my friend Catherine’s family only has three people, but they own a Range Rover, a Lexus SUV, two Rolls Royce, a Jaguar, and a Mercedes—all of which are very harmful to the environment. I saw a news article recently that said that the mall nearest to my home has installed units for people to charge their electric cars, free of charge, while they’re shopping, but I’m not sure how many people in the area currently drive hybrid or electric cars. Also, the houses are very large. For example: right now, my parents are the only ones living at our home, so we have five unused bedrooms. If people were to reduce the size of their house(s), that land could be put to better use. There could definitely be more agriculture, and more community areas, such as parks. Additionally, I think there’s an overall lack of knowledge about sustainable practices in Ponte Vedra. I think it would be great to implement some type of education program, whether it be in the local schools or through other community outreach programs. Right now, I think we do a great job assessing national disaster risk, since we are at sea level & hurricanes are an issue, but transportation systems could be improved during such emergencies. When I had to evacuate for Hurricane Floyd, for example, it took us 18 hours to get from Ponte Vedra to Pensacola, which is normally about a 6 hour drive. There are a lot of entrepreneurs in the area, so I think there’s great potential for innovation, and although I don’t believe water or air quality is currently an issue, it’s something that can always be developed further. Overall, I think Ponte Vedra would be more sustainable if people just knew of the choices that they could make—on individual level, on a business level, or even on a national/state level.

  11. Ari Strickland says:

    3. Using the resources above and the course discussion list all the diverse areas that are needed in order to have a sustainable community.
    -Green Economy: locally owned businesses and farmers are thriving; enough jobs for everyone; affordability of needs and goods
    -Agriculture: produce locally grown, moving towards farmer’s markets that accept WIC and gvmt aid, monitor land use and use zoning techniques to keep the soil healthy
    -Buildings: sustainably designed buildings in the city that use their energy as efficiently as possible and are made with renewable or sustainable building materials
    -Businesses: keep tabs on pollution levels, set and enforce regulations
    -Community Involvement: All members should be empowered to help better oneself and community and get informed so he/she can get involved
    -Ecosystems: manage what nature gives you and maintain proper and sufficient biodiversity in the environment
    -Education: begin to implement Sustainable topics into public education so it becomes a strong value
    -Energy: choose the most economically and environmentally safe and appropriate energy options for the community
    -Statewide/Global: keep citizens and officials up to date on current issues affecting the rest of the world, and therefore that community
    -Transportation: move towards a community less based around automobiles and more based on walking, biking, or public transportation to reduce emissions
    -Water: implement water conservation techniques throughout city, make sure drinking water is safe and inform individuals about their own ability to further purify their water
    -Waste Management: implement recycling and reusing (Cradle-to-Cradle) techniques in every applicable industry, have recycling centers available and advertised to the public
    -Air Quality: check with the EPA and maintain a healthy air quality for citizens by regulating business emissions
    -Social: move toward an attitude of equality, despite race or gender or age, help others in the community and you will be helped, a paradigm shift is in order
    -Sufficient Knowledge Base: The more you know, the more you grow, keep city officials informed about current topics in sustainability, and keep knowledge on information specific to the community and its needs up to date as well

    4) Pick either the city that you consider HOME
    -Nahunta, GA

    4a. ) Write about what your city would look like if it was a sustainable community.
    If Nahunta became a sustainable city, I believe one of the first things that would change would be our agriculture. Our city is a tiny speck in the middle of Brantley County, all of which only has 3 redlights. It is a very rural county and there are fields and dirt roads everywhere. I think if we really invested in a local market, and got all of our farmers on the same page, maybe they could work all together and trade out who-plants-what, when. This would make everyone’s farm more productive and efficient. If we spent time and money on an investment in a new local farmers’ market, I strongly believe our local economy would flourish. Nahunta is an adorable little town with local businesses left and right, but there just isn’t that much money to go around for it all. If we had something like a sucessful farmer’s market, it could jumpstart all sorts of goodness. We’d eventually need to save up and invest in actually paving a good bit of dirt roads to open up the possibility for public transportation or even bikes. Now everyone uses an automobile because Brantley County has the most unpaved roads in Georgia (fact.) We’d need to crack down on our air quality monitoring and water supply monitoring to make sure everything is up to par and efficiently providing us with healthy resources. Also, a good dose of social equality would do wonders for our little existence. So many folks have seen generations born in die in the same yard, and most of those families are still set in their conservative ways. A new, fresh way of thinking and viewing the 10% of our population who are African American would unite everyone and make our community thrive. This would come from implementing Sustainable topics into our educational curriculum for the youth. We are right on the Satilla River, and really close to the Okefenokee Swamp, so managing ecosystems and biodiversity levels has always been important. I say we continue on the path we are already on with that route. With a little faith and a big economic investment and paradigm shift, Nahunta seems like it might just have a chance.

  12. Heather Biehle says:

    1. Visit the Minnesota website for Next Step Sustainable Communities in Minnesota (Next Step website)
    2. Visit the SustainLane’s 2008 US Cities Rankings for Sustainable Cities
    3. Using the resources above and the course discussion list all the diverse areas that are needed in order to have a sustainable community. Next Step website does a nice job laying out the “Topic Areas” of a sustainable community. However, Next Step is missing some important areas that are either on the Sustain Lane site or discussed in class (Hint: has to do with social sustainability and equality).
    Agriculture and it’s related industries like forest management, farming, gardening, etc.
    Buildings
    Business- green business practices
    Communities
    Ecosystems- biodivierstiy
    Education
    Energy- renewable, cost-saving (and environemtn saving) practices
    Individual choices
    Land use- Smart Growth
    Statewide/global
    Transportation
    Water- conservation and treatment
    In addition to the above listed keys to sustainable communities, community outreach, convenience of businesses to encourage alternative transportation, waste management programs available at affordable prices, and everyone thinking beyond themselves for the greater good of the planet as a whole are important factors to developing a successful sustainable community.

    4) Pick either the city that you consider HOME (usually,HOME is where our family is, where we grew up, or the place we know we want to settle to create our new family)
    4a. ) Write about what your city would look like if it was a sustainable community. For some cities this may include both fact and fiction. Use the links above and class discussion topics to develop the multi-faceted areas that involve a sustainable community. This will include envisioning your city from a broad scope including water, air, transportation to social equity, jobs, affordable housing, etc….
    I would consider home to be Atlanta, where my parents currently live. I noticed on the SustainLane website that ATL is leading the southeast in number of LEED certified buildings which is a great step in becoming a more sustainable community. I know that our air is a major problem, among the worst cities in the nation for it’s size, however, with the growth in LEED certification which involves strict regulations in regards to HVAC units, refrigerants, and more, we should see an improvement. If MARTA became slightly more convenient and safer, gas emissions would cut down substantially. That is one of the biggest problems with Atlanta- it’s too spread out! It is definitely a commuter city; most people drive to their jobs everyday which lends to the notorious ATL traffic we all dread so much. Our emissions would decrease along with oil consumption. We need to work on the convenience factor of Atlanta. More areas need to be more easily accessible with businesses being built either within the same building or adjoining each other, like NYC. The subway is extremely popular, but the entire island of Manhattan is walk able and part of the reason you don’t notice is because there are so many shops and businesses along the way, you can run errands, go shopping, or grab a bite to eat and before you know it you’ve arrived at your destination. There also needs to be new construction for the lower-middle class. Most of Atlanta’s housing is either upper-middle to high or the projects. If we built more at in-between price points, less commuters and more social equality would result. By continuing to build conveniently with community in mind, more jobs will have to be offered for the new businesses and more employees will be able to work since their housing is in close enough proximity to walk or ride a bike. I think the number one problem that it boils down to in Atlanta is just space. We need to stop building out and start using what we’ve already developed in a more economic, efficient way.

  13. yvetteguilbeau says:

    My hometown is Mandeville, Louisiana. It is 30 miles outside of New Orleans. I think there is a lot that could be done in these areas to make them more sustainable. Air quality could be more sustainable by businesses not polluted the air and also having transportation alternatives. The population in Mandeville continues to grow, especially after it boomed after hurricane Katrina. There is some public transportation in New Orleans, but none in Mandeville. If people drove their cars less this would greatly cut down on gas usage and air pollution. Good water quality a big issue in New Orleans. There have been multiple incidences of contaminated water and the water comes out discolored, but people still drink it from the tap. New Orleans is still in somewhat of a rebuilding state after Katrina. There is room for making sustainable changes. The education system could be more sustainable reguarding public schooling. There also needs to be severely decreased crime rates. personal health care needs also need to be addressed. My hometown, Mandeville has less sustainable needs as the city does. People need cultural community. The Saints football fan base and the team’s success has greatly improved the city’s morale and helped people come together for a common cause. Community is an important part of creating a more sustainable city. No one can make these changes alone and the city needs large communities to come together and really make a point and a plan to make changes. I think that Mandeville has grown large enough as a city and that the rest of its green space and land should be conserved. The land needs to be taken care of and respected. New Orleans has to also protect itself as a city from future hurricanes and disasters by rebuilding the levee system. I think one of the biggest parts of becoming a sustainable community is for each person to do their own part. People have to make conscious personal decisions reguarding sustainable living. This starts with the way the live at home and in the community. You can conserve energy and water in your home by consciously thinking about turning things off and not consuming as much. This is also where sustainable decisions about personal transportation come from. If people in the community start using cars less and walking/biking more, or even carpooling it can make a difference. The city will be more sustainable if people in the community make different, better decisions as well as the government. These decisions made together and enforced will make the city much more sustainable.

  14. Cam Gordon says:

    1.
    2.
    3. Topics involved in creating a sustainable community include, but are not limited to sustainable agricultural practices, green building methodology, environmentally conscientious business operations, citizen participation in community development, proper education on sustainability, renewable energy, individual choices to act more sustainably, State-wide to Global or micro to macro decision making, the creation of better transportation and alternatives, water issues as well as pollution control, and creating a culture to promote more sustainable practices to foster the dissemination of this knowledge.
    4. Pittsburgh, PA
    4a. Pittsburgh has been making strides to become a more sustainable city in recent years. Back in the sixties and seventies it was one of the more polluted cities in the control from the steel industry. Clean up efforts have yielded great success and have given the city a new, clean face to show the rest of the country. However, more could be done to create an even more environmentally friendly city. Known for its three rivers, I envision a public better public transportation system using water as a medium. An expansion of the city’s “L” train could also reduce the amount of traffic congestion and pollution from commuters. The promotion of nearby local farms may reduce the reliance on outside sources of food and create more of a locavore movement. Many of the old industrial plant sites have been cleared out and could stand for more gentrification to promote local business. Many people from the city are locally minded and supportive of any and all efforts to make improvements, this is one of the most endearing traits about the city to me. People from Pittsburgh take pride in their roots; we all hope to continue making it a better place to live. Fun fact, in 2011 Pittsburgh was rated the most liveable city in the country. Go Steelers!

  15. Brittany Biggers says:

    3. Agriculture, buildings and architecture, community development, ecosystems, education, energy, individual choices, land use practices, statewide and/or global issues affecting region, forms of transportation, water, social, economy, waste management, etc.

    4. I would consider Power Springs, Georgia as my home town because it is the place I have lived the longest. The first major change that would need to happen to become more sustainable would be better transportation. Public transportation is horrible in P-town. There are no buses or bike routes to take, so I would add buses and lots of more ways for bikes to be a reasonable form of transportation within the city. It is also important to ensure that these forms of transportation reach all parts of the city so as not to discriminate against a certain group of people. Also, all of the buildings would be built in more sustainable ways. For example, using solar panels on the roof for energy, using energy efficient lightbulb in ALL lights, etc. For water all towels would be low flow toilets, water saving faucets, recycling of grey water for things like watering plants, etc. All foods would be home grown instead of being flown halfway around the world to reach the grocery store, which uses a ridiculous amount of fossil fuels. The foods would also be 100% organic, using a variety of different crops and local knowledge to ensure your harvest does not fail. For waste management, compost piles are a must. Education is extremely important for this community so that people will know how to make a difference and become more sustainable, as well as staying sustainable for a long time.

  16. Laney Haag says:

    1) N/A
    2) N/A

    3) I found that the diverse areas that are needed to have a sustainable community are: Agriculture, Buildings, Communities, Ecosystems, Education, Energy, Individual Choices, Land Use, Statewide/Global, Transportation, and Water. Other needed areas that were not included on the NextStep website are: Air Quality, Tap Water Quality, City Innovation, Waste Management, Housing Affordability, Natural Disaster Risk, Green Economy, and Green Building.

    4)When I think of Home, I think about Atlanta, Georgia.

    4a) According to SustainLane, Atlanta, GA is ranked 19th on the 2008 US City Sustainability Rankings. It is also included on the website as one of the most improved cities. I was very surprised to learn that Atlanta leads the southeast in LEED-registered buildings—over 140 projects are currently seeking certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Atlanta’s lowest ranking is it’s Metro Congestion. If the new transit on the Beltline is completed I believe this will help Atlanta become a more sustainable community. It will improve the air quality as well as city commuting. When I think of social equity in Atlanta I think of walking from Ansley Park (an extremely upscale neighborhood in Buckhead) to the end of the neighborhood where homeless people are living next to Piedmont Park. This shows that there is a huge gap between the upper class and lower class in Atlanta. I definitely think Atlanta is making improvements but there is still room to grow towards becoming a more sustainable community.

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