Disciplined leadership in advancing sustainability


Topic:  Climate Change and Sustainability

Toward a Sustainable City: The State of Innovation in Urban Sustainability
With Pete Plastrik, September 2013. The Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN), a project of the Global Philanthropy Partnership, commissioned this report to help its members, partners, and others learn more about and assess the remarkable progress occurring in developing and spreading innovations in urban sustainability throughout North America. The report shows how a comprehensive field of urban sustainability is emerging across the public, private, nonprofit, and academic sectors, and that innovation is its driving force.

The Guide to Greening Cities 
“Around the world, people increasingly recognize that our planet’s future largely depends on making our cities sustainable. But for each city, turning that recognition into a realistic action plan is an enormously complicated undertaking. Using their direct experience, and their deep understanding of municipal policy and politics, the authors of The Guide to Greening Cities explain what it takes to move beyond the talk of greening cities to actually getting it done.” — Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor, New York City

USDN Regional Network Development Guidebook (2012)
A how-to guide written with Pete Plastrik on creating a regional sustainability leader network.

Global Climate Change Adaptation Strategies for Chicago and the Great Lakes
As part of developing the Chicago Climate Action Plan, Julia managed a research process for the City of Chicago on projected global climate change impacts and adaptation strategies. This work is captured in two journal articles in a special issue of the Journal of Great Lakes Research 36 (2010).  One article is titled Introduction: Assessing the Effects of Climate Change on Chicago and the Great Lakes. The other is titled Preparing for a Changing Climate: The Chicago climate Action Plan’s Adaptation Strategy.

Lessons Learned:  Creating the Chicago Climate Action Plan
This document distills all of the steps in the City of Chicago’s process for developing the Chicago Climate Action Plan, a process that Julia Parzen managed.

Chicago Area Climate Change Quick Guide:  Adapting to the Physical Impacts of Climate Change
“Chicago Quick Guide to Climate Change Preparation.” (PDF) This document summarizes the City of Chicago’s process and findings on climate change adaptation produced during the development of the Chicago Climate Action Plan. Julia was the outside project manager for the development of the adaptation plan.

Chicago’s Guide to Completing an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy
Julia co-authored with Center for the Neighborhood Technology and the City of Chicago a guide (link opens PDF report) that will help cities and counties to develop a long-term and sustainable energy efficiency and conservation plan and maximize the opportunity for cost savings, environmental benefits, financial leverage and economic development. CNT uses this guide in its work with cities on EECBG grant implementation.  The guide builds on the lessons learned in creating the Chicago Climate Action Plan.


Topic:  Smart Growth

Shared-Use Mobility

The Shared-Use Mobility Center has released a new reference guide intended to provide government, business and community leaders with an introduction to shared-use mobility and help prepare them to address the rapid changes currently taking place in cities across the nation.

The New Transit Town: Best Practices In Transit-Oriented Development
New Transit Town brought together leading experts in planning, transportation, and sustainable design—including Scott Bernstein, Peter Calthorpe, Jim Daisa, Sharon Feigon, Ellen Greenberg, David Hoyt, Dennis Leach, Julia Parzen, and Shelley Poticha—to examine the first generation of TOD projects and derive lessons for the next generation. It offers topic chapters that provide detailed discussion of key issues along with case studies that present an in-depth look at specific projects.

Foundations and Real Estate:  A Guide for Funders Interested in Building Better Communities
The stories in this guide illustrate how strategic foundation grant, loan, and other investments have had a profound impact on smart growth policy, planning, and projects.

Livability and Smart Growth:  Lessons from a Surdna Foundation Initiative (Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies)
This report offers the story of the Surdna Foundation’s Initiative on Smart Growth, which took place in Utah, New Mexico, Maryland, and New Jersey from 1998 to 2003.

Innovations in Metropolitan Cooperation (CNT Metropolitan Initiative)
The purpose of this paper is to present the rich variety of U.S. experiments with metropolitan cooperation, the attributes which seem to contribute to success, and what more would be possible with a new federal initiative.  The paper was prepared for The Metropolitan Initiative, A Project of the Center for Neighborhood Technology, to reinvent the relationship between the federal government and metropolitan areas.


Topic:  Community and Economic Development

Credit Where Its Due:  Development Banking for Communities
In this book Julia and Michael Kieschnick explain how financial institutions can serve the economic development needs of communities in which they operate without sacrificing prudent banking practices. Relying on firsthand knowledge, we showed why development banks are worthy of the attention of community development activists, financial institutions that want to improve their performance, and policymakers trying to fix the financial system.

Enterprising Women:  Local Initiatives for Job Creation (OECD)
This edited volume with Sarah Gould, describes the opportunities and challenges in helping women across the world to create small enterprises.

Integrating Green Chemistry and Safer Materials into Regional Economics and Workforce Development Strategies  (Health and Environmental Funders Network, 2009)
A scoping document for the Health and Environmental Funders Network on ways to leverage regional economic development and job opportunities and spur a transition to green chemistry and safer materials.

Community Change Makers:  The Leadership Role of Community Foundations  (Chapin Hall, 2004)
This paper written with Ralph Hamilton and Prue Brown, identifies and illustrates key ways in which community foundations throughout the country are developing and expanding their leadership roles in their communities, while also making internal institutional adjustments to support those roles. The paper is drawn primarily from data collected at four four-day meetings, designed and facilitated by Chapin Hall and sponsored by the Coalition of Community Foundations for Youth, with a group of senior community foundation leaders. The stories used to illustrate the larger points were chosen to exemplify the practices to which many community foundations aspire.

University Partnerships with Community Change Initiatives (Hewlett Foundation)
A report for the Hewlett Foundation on lessons learned about university-community partnerships drawn from the experience of the Hewlett Foundation’s Neighborhood Improvement Initiative.

Civic Participation and Smarter Growth: Improving How Communities and Places Grow and Change (Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities)
Julia updated the Network’s translation paper Translation Paper series, “Civic Participation and Smart Growth,” describing how ongoing decisions about what, where, and how to grow represent opportunities to increase civic participation and decrease social isolation, for the public at large and especially for populations traditionally excluded from decision-making.

Buyout:  Guide to Workers Facing Plant Closings
Written with Catherine Squire and Michael Kieschnick.