Disciplined leadership in advancing sustainability

Responses to a Quickly Evolving Landscape

  • City of Chicago :: Chicago's Smart Lighting Project

    Chicago’s Smart Lighting Project will generate significant electricity cost savings that will be utilized to pay for the modernization. As important, the project advances equity in four ways: 

    1.  The smart lighting grid management system will eliminate reliance on 311 calls about street lights that are out. Complaint based systems tend to disadvantage immigrant and low income communities.  

    2. More than half of the light fixtures will be assembled at a plant in the City of Chicago.

    3.  Ameresco has committed to using City residents to perform at least 50 percent of the work on the project.

    4. For the first year, streetlight fixture replacement will be focused in those neighborhoods with heightened public safety concerns, primarily on the west and south sides. 

  • The Test Just Began for the Community Benefits Movement

    In November 2017, Detroit voters approved a groundbreaking ordinance that will require developers of the city’s biggest taxpayer-supported projects to sign a city-negotiated community benefits agreement (CBA) before a shovel goes into the ground. This kind of CBA ordinance could make pursuing greater equity in development easier.  

  • City of Seattle Building Stronger Connections With Community Liaisons

    Hiring community liaisons from historically underrepresented neighborhoods builds long-term relationships, allows local government to take care of problems residents already have, and increases willingness to participate in planning processes when city government needs it.  

  • How Seattle’s Well-Intentioned Planning Experiment Went Wrong

    “Real equity,” meaningful engagement of marginalized people in planning includes translation, meeting times when they can meet, babysitting, training on technical issues, and specific opportunities to share their views with other stakeholders, A good summary in this article of what it takes. Seattle took a step forward with targeted outreach and is ready to learn from what did not work.   

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    Delta Institute, where I serve as board chair, recently issued its annual report. Take a look. It is inspiring at a time when we need it.  

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