Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 1:21 EDT

New McGraw-Hill Research Foundation Paper Shows How Dubuque’s Sustainability Efforts Serve as a Model for Other U.S. Communities

September 27, 2012

NEW YORK, Sept. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Dubuque, Iowa, has developed into a more sustainable city through an innovative movement focused more on community-created and citizen-led initiatives than on traditional government programs. The city’s sustainable community coordinator explains Dubuque’s success in this area in a new McGraw-Hill Research Foundation white paper, describing a variety of sustainability initiatives focused on economic prosperity, environmental integrity, and social/cultural vibrancy over a six-year period. In the paper entitled “Creating the Sustainable City: A Community Engagement Strategy That’s Working,” Cori Burbach says the effort involved issues including water quality, recycling, green space needs, public transit, cultural vitality, accessibility, and downtown revitalization.

The paper offers ways that other communities of Dubuque’s size – population of approximately 58,000 – can replicate their model of sustainability. This is important because more than 40 percent of the United States population lives in communities with 200,000 people or less.

Rather than positioning the sustainability initiatives as solely Dubuque city government programs, Mayor Roy D. Buol and the Dubuque City Council formulated and implemented a community engagement strategy involving a grassroots approach. This brought about sustainability initiative buy-in by the private, public, and non-profit sectors, and engaged individual citizens.

Burbach outlines how the city government and community joined with the University of Iowa’s School of Urban and Regional Planning and with IBM Watson Research, which identified the city’s sustainability vision as a fertile environment to grow its “Smarter Planet” initiative. Dubuque and its partners also established a strong performance management system so that Dubuque’s progress in reaching its sustainability goals could be carefully tracked and measured.

Dubuque’s sustainability program is supported by federal, state, and local governments, philanthropic funds, and local businesses, in addition to IBM. These are all organizations working to create green jobs and harness the momentum of the sustainability movement.

The paper offers several powerful lessons for other communities that want to incorporate sustainability principles into their long-term plans:

  • Strong leadership in the public, private and non-profit sectors helps to ensure the community-supported vision is incorporated into community strategic planning and budgeting.
  • Grassroots engagement and leadership ensures that regardless of changes in political power, movement towards the community’s vision will continue.
  • Effective data collection and analysis help to ensure accountability and track goals.
  • People must be engaged to affect long-term sustainable behavior change in communities.

To download a copy of “Creating the Sustainable City: A Community Engagement Strategy That’s Working,” click here.

About The McGraw-Hill Research Foundation
The Foundation was established with the support of The McGraw-Hill Companies and is a Section 501(c)(3) organization. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hillresearchfoundation.org.

SOURCE McGraw-Hill Research Foundation

Source: PR Newswire