BCLC Honors Communities Representing Gold Standard in Sustainability Planning
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The Business Civic Leadership Center (BCLC) and Siemens recognized the 2011 Siemens Sustainable Community Award winners at an event I attended last night along with Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter. The accomplishments demonstrated by this year’s winners are truly impressive. The communities honored last night showcase resilience, integrity, and ingenuity. Their success in creating environmental and economic solutions at the local-level, have made their cities models of the 21st century. I echo the sentiments of my friend and colleague Stephen Jordan, founder and executive director of the U.S. Chamber Business Civic Leadership Center, who commented, “We hope and expect many more communities to build on their experiences in the years to come.”
The Siemens Sustainable Community Awards are now in their fourth year and give rise to U.S. communities that take proactive steps to improve quality of life, are stewards of the environment, and increase the ability to sustain a successful community for generations to come. The communities honored last night were selected from nearly 90 communities spanning 40 states.
San Jose, California brought home this year’s award in the large community category for its adoption of Green Vision, a 10-point roadmap for innovation and environmental responsibility that serves to strengthen economic opportunity and prosperity. With $4 billion in venture capital funding for clean technology and a goal of creating 25,000 clean tech jobs, San Jose shows how environmental innovation and economic opportunity can go hand in hand.
Raleigh, North Carolina has done a number of things to earn the award in the midsize community category. Raleigh has demonstrated a commitment to developing a “green economy.” The city established the Economic Development Group, made up of government agencies, businesses, and community organizations, to help make sustainability-based jobs more available to residents. Raleigh created a workforce development program to retrain workers with the skills needed to make them more employable in the green economy, training more than 200 people in the first year. Raleigh is also home to one of the nation’s two LEED Silver convention centers, attracting substantial economic activity that bolsters the entire community.
And Greensburg, Kansas, should serve as an inspiration to communities across the country that have suffered from disasters. Just four years ago, a tornado leveled the two-mile-wide town. But it overcame the odds to win this year’s small community award, becoming one of the world’s first towns to build from the ground up with a community master plan tied to sustainability principles. Greensburg’s commitment to rebuilding and reinventing itself through sustainable living and a healthy environment is at the heart of the town’s recovery. Among many accomplishments, Greensburg already has achieved the most LEED-platinum buildings per capita in the world. To date, more than 60 local businesses have re-opened or are in the process of re-opening.
These three cities are all unique, but together they are examples for communities across the country.
I encourage you to check out the photos and video from the event.