The program has been designed by Portland State University to assist smaller cities and neighborhoods with their sustainability policy ideas, as well as recommendations and strategies for implementation.
Portland is well-known as a leading sustainable city and the Accelerator will offer mentorship and advice from Portland’s sustainability experts. Portland has led in a variety of sustainability efforts. Portland was the first American city to adopt a Global Warming Action Plan in 1993, and it is consistently ranked one of the most sustainable cities (if not the most sustainable). Mother Nature Network ranked it #1 in 2012, and Popular Science also called it the greenest city in the U.S. in 2008. In 2012, the city recycled 63% of its waste and held the highest number of LEED certified buildings in the country. The city cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 12.5% per capita between 1993 and 2009, while the rest of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions increased.
Portland will leverage its experience in these areas and, among other areas of sustainability, its experts will teach Urban Sustainability Accelerator participants about:
- Active transportation networks
- Waste reduction
- Natural areas protection
- Mixed use developments
- Stormwater management
- Green building and LEED
The experts, who include government officials and nonprofit and business professionals, will offer not only technical advice, but also strategic advice for overcoming challenges that the regional leaders may face.
Participants in this year’s Accelerator included the towns of:
- Waco, TX
- Louisville, KY
- Elk Grove, CA
- Portland, ME
- Wichita, KS
- Sacramento County, CA
- El Paso, TX
- Rancho Cordova, CA.
The towns and cities will receive at least a year of assistance from the Urban Sustainability Accelerator, and in the process will learn not only from the program, but from each other, since they all come from regions facing similar sustainability challenges and opportunities.