Where is the “coolest” school for sustainability?
It’s one thing to say you go to a cool school, and another thing to be able to prove it. The University of California Davis, pictured to the right, has been recognized by Sierra magazine as the nation’s “Coolest School” for its sustainability efforts. So what about North Carolina universities, Duke ranked #7, Appalachian State ranked #10, and UNC Chapel Hill ranked #33. Okay where are the Triad universities? Elon ranked #29 and edged out UNC Greensboro which came in at #39. To see all the rankings and read about the metholodgy follow this link…. http://www.bizjournals.com/sacramento/news/2012/08/14/uc-davis-ranked-as-coolest-school-sierra.html
Top-to-Bottom Sustainability Analysis
In many ways, Greensboro, North Carolina, embodies the challenges communities are facing today and the questions they’re asking about their future: How do we support a thriving and vibrant downtown and walkable neighborhoods while addressing growth pressure at the fringes? How do we attract and retain employers while still being good stewards of natural resources? And, for city governments, how can we support staff and become more resource and cost efficient as an organization?
Greensboro was one of many communities that received funding from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help answer some of these questions, in particular through the Energy Efficiency Community Block Grant. The boost from these funds prompted many communities to develop energy, climate action, and sustainability plans and to weave sustainability themes into their comprehensive plans.
In 2009, Greensboro used its $2.5 million EECBG share to develop an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy with the support of its Community Sustainability Council, to undertake greenhouse gas inventories, and to draft a Sustainability Action Plan addressing everything from transportation and green jobs to education and “nature in the city.” One of the strategies outlined in the EECS was an update of Connections 2025, Greensboro’s comprehensive plan, so that it could incorporate the themes of energy and sustainability.
While such a strategy is certainly not unique to Greensboro, what is unique is the next question the city asked: What if we could align all of our plans by using sustainability as a guide — along with Connections 2025?
Click here to read the entire report…Top-to-Bottom Sustainability Analysis
The article above appeared in the July addition of the Planning Magazine and is reprinted with permission from the American Planning Association.
Asheboro Sustainable Design and Development Workshop
The City of Asheboro, in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency, Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation and the Piedmont Triad Regional Council, hosted a workshop to explore issues and develop strategies to continue the economic revitalization of its downtown. By making strategic investments in places where infrastructure and community amenities already exist, Asheboro can reduce the cost of serving new growth while reusing and revitalizing existing downtown areas and surrounding neighborhoods. In conjunction with the Piedmont Triad Sustainable Communities Planning Project, this initial Design & Development Workshop will serve as a model for helping citizens and community leaders in the Piedmont Triad to identify reinvestment priorities within existing town centers.
As many as thirty-five community leaders participated in the workshop over a two day period.
Day One – The group learned about what makes a sustainable community and explored the Strengths and Weaknesses of Asheboro’s downtown. View the Sustainable Development Presentation below.
Day Two – The group focused on three elements of downtown: being green, accessibility and defining gaps in retail, housing and entertainment. The workshop then turned its attention to a 6-block area bounded by W. Salisbury, S. Fayetteville, Wainman, and S. Church. Using all the information gathered over the past two days the technical team prepared a concept plan for the 6-block area. Two ideas stood out from the design and development work:
1. Adaptive reuse of the Acme-McCrary Plant into retail, offices and downtown housing. The potential is great but would require a strong partnership between the city, private interests and downtown property owners.
2. The potential to create a linear pedestrian stroll way with Memorial Park as its focal point. The stroll way would expand the “green” footprint in downtown and could provide access to the Farmers Market and other amenities outside the study area. A formal report will be prepared by the technical team and presented to the City of Asheboro. Until then view the evening presentation on the Results of the Workshop below.
Day One Presentation on Sustainable Development
Day Two Evening Presentation on the Results of the Workshop
Kristen Jeffers – The Black Urbanist
A young black woman’s attempt to create real community
Article by Mark E. Kirstner, SCPP Project Manager
Kristen graduated with a degree in communications with a concentration in public relations from North Carolina State University in 2007. She used that part of her degree to do marketing, public relations and social media work for nonprofits. community groups, start-up companies and other organizations that are for a fair, sustainable and just world. In 2010, she founded and still serves as executive director of my local Young Nonprofit Professionals Network chapter. She graduated from University of North Carolina Greensboro in 2012 with a Masters in Public Administration focusing on Community and Economic Development. In the urbanist world, she serves on the Congress for New Urbanist Next Gen Executive Committee and presented at this year’s CNU 20 at – NextGen Day on “Killing the Civic Inferiority Complex”. That’s her to the right. In the cyber world, she is a contributor to Grist, Sustainable Cities Collective and has her own blog the Black Urbanist.d Economic Development.Kristen approached me over a year ago about an internship with PART. She wanted to work on the Sustainable Communities Project. At that time, we were not quite ready to engage interns. That was a HUGE mistake. She has gone on to bigger and better opportunities. But she calls me again…
Greensboro Summer Camps
GreensboroSummerCamps.com provides a complete listing of all the summer camps in Greensboro for parents who want to support local organizations. Many Arts Camps teach children different ways to recycle art mediums, while several of the Science camps teach children about ecology and environmental education. Also, Sports Camps help children become healthier, stronger and work together, while Academic Camps help make learning fun for children. Summer camps are one of the best ways for kids to have fun, make new friends, and explore new interests. Help your child have the best summer ever this year by finding a summer camp to play, have fun and learn!
High Point Core City Plan
The City Project is a nonprofit, grassroots initiative that seeks to promote the growth and revitalization of the city’s 11-square-mile urban core through a public-private collaboration to generate the return of people, businesses and services to create an urban style of living; to identify and develop incentives, initiatives and funding; and to serve as a resource to energize neighborhood reinvestment.
In 2007, the High Point City Council adopted a plan for the revitalization of the High Point’s 11 square mile urban core, and funded The City Project to accomplish the task. Led by local citizens, The City Project is rising to meet the challenges of revitalization neighborhood by neighborhood –and seeing results. The City Project selected three neighborhoods that rim our downtown as focus areas. Each is distinct in character and charm. Uptowne is our defacto downtown, located 5 blocks north of downtown. There are restaurants, retail and businesses, but there was no identity or unity. Southside, located several blocks south of downtown, is anchored by Guilford Tech Community College where over 7,000 non‐repeat students attend classes in an ethnically diverse area. Washington Street, located east of downtown, was known as the “black downtown” and had name recognition, but was viewed by many as an area in deep decline. We have concentrated on building name recognition, holding events to get people familiar with the areas and working to recruit businesses and encourage public incentives to spur economic development in these areas.
High Point Washington Street Plan
As an outgrowth of the 2007 Core City Plan, the City of High Point created the Washington Drive District Plan in 2008 as a starting point for revitalization of this important commercial district.
The Washington Drive district was targeted with hopes of creating a center for arts and culture that reflects the rich African American heritage in High Point. During the last several years, there has been nearly $500,000 in private investment in the area and a business group has started. Several properties have been purchased and rehabilitated and the district received it’s National Historic Designation in December 2010. Plans are moving towards the construction of a public park, a home repair program and the beginning of a Community Arts Center.
Southwest High Point Renewal Project
Economic Revitalization through Environmental Enhancement
Why Travel to a Park? Why not Live and Work in a Park?
A Jobs Creation Project
Our goal is to change an area of severe industrial decline, located in the core city of High Point, into a renewed place of natural beauty which will 1) attract and be ready to accommodate new business & industry; 2) encourage new uses for industrial buildings which so long sustained our economy; 3) create a better quality of life for residents and business; 4) clean up and revitalize streams and old railroad beds to make new greenways for walking and biking; and 4) foster childhood interest in ecology and the sciences by partnering with schools to create environmentally-oriented education. This plan will maximize the economic benefits of environmental enhancement to save revenue, support sustainability, attract business, create jobs, increase real estate values, and improve health.
Cooleemee Mill Project
Erwin Mills #3 in Cooleemee employed nearly 1,800 workers before the mill closed in 1969. Now, a new project has begun that envisions the reuse of this historic cotton mill building. A partnership between the Cooleemee Historical Assoc, Town of Cooleemee, the Davie Co. Economic Development Commission, and the Jordan Development team of Saxapahaw, NC have taken steps to plan the “design phase” of a 8-10 year project for residential, commercial, institutional, and even light industrial purposes.
Click here for more information
Southeast Guilford Community Association
Active neighborhood associations help create vibrant communities. The Southeast Guilford Community Association is one example in the Triad of a strong neighborhood association that brings together residents to provide a venue for individuals with a passion or purpose for advocacy of community, education and business interests in SE Guilford County. The association has aligned themselves with the Piedmont Triad Sustainable Communities Project. Lonnie Baxley, an association member, is an active member of the Economic and Workforce Development Workgroup. For more information about the association – click here!
Forsyth Futures: Building Communities, Building Futures.
Established in 2006, Forsyth Futures is a community collaborative of residents, organizations and institutions working together to address critical community issues. The mission of Forsyth Futures is to continually improve positive outcomes for adults, children, and families of Forsyth County, North Carolina. Forsyth Futures’ work is guided by seven principles:
- Improve equitable access.
- Address racial and other disparities.
- Nurture and value diversity.
- Treat everyone with respect.
- Maximize resources and minimize duplication.
- Encourage continuous improvement and innovation.
- Share ownership and accountability.
Forsyth Futures tracks indicators and supports initiatives that address residents’ economic self-sufficiency, engagement in their community, educational success, mental and physical health, and safety. Visit the webpage here.
Smart Growth, Sustainability and Creativity
They are strange bedfellows. But, here are two good examples of matching music with mixed use.