Tomorrow will be the day that people stop reinventing the wheel for city sustainability approaches.
(I feel like that thoughtful boy with ESP in that old Twilight Zone episode. He says the day before a supernova fries the earth on his nightly TV newscast, "Tomorrow there will be peace on earth, perfect harmony around the planet, for all people, nations and races.")
That's because SustainLane Government will launch tomorrow a best practices knowledge base and peer directory for U.S. city officials responsible for sustainability management. The free online site will let city officials from across multiple disciplines--from planning, to wastewater, fleet and utilities management--download examples from their city's programs and practices that reflect the best achievements in sustainable development.
Then, these same city officials and their consultants will be able to search or browse through what others have contributed. That function will be added to the system in October. These type of capabilities will give others from other cities (and maybe even some from their own city) a window into understanding what worked, what didn't work and how it came about.
Contacts will be provided, for those that wish to make them available, so others may explore the so-called "soft" knowledge beyond what has been downloaded in explicit documents. We're talking brain tissue and experience.
The SustainLane Government site attempts to further advance cross-sectoral and interdisciplinary city management practices by leveraging the cream of the crop from "siloed" departments and disciplines into a 24/7 resource.
Anyone who has worked trying to nurture sustainability can tell you that the biggest challenges and advances come from cross-sector systems approaches. Examples: waste-to-energy systems; integrated stormwater, wastewater and irrigation water management; and green roofs.
Take green roofs: are they part of landscaping, green building energy conservation, water treatment, wildlife habitat, or urban heat island mitigation? Correct answer: all the above. To finance, plan and execute effective green roof development and management, cities need to draw upon expertise from all the relevant areas, while creating a functional system that transcends each area of expertise.
So if you are working trying to advance sustainability in the city you work for, SustainLane Government (http://www.sustainlane.us/) is for you and your colleagues. Check out the site, register and download a best practice from your city to get started. And then watch the magic happen.
Speaking of growth, this blog is now called "Green A City", which is pronounced "Green-acity" (as in "bad-assity"). I will be soliciting entries from others, including Richard Young, SustainLane Government's Research Manager, as well as sustainability professionals out there who want to participate in this exciting collective enterprise.