November 2018 Urban Sustainability Bulletin

Our thoughts and support are with the our members, partner organizations, staff, friends, families, and everyone who is experiencing effects from the Camp Fire and Woolsey Fire in California. The Camp Fire alone is the deadliest and ranked as the most destructive on record in terms of property loss in California. According to the latest research, California is hotter and drier, which is causing wildfires to become larger and more destructive.

Our members in California and all over the United States and Canada are working with their communities to find solutions that will prepare for, adapt to, and mitigate the effects of disasters like wildfires, flooding, and extreme heat. USDN and its members, partners, and funders are committed to supporting communities in becoming more resilient in light of climate change impacts.

USDN Announces 14 GHG Reduction High Impact Practices

USDN is pleased to announce the selection of 14 GHG Reduction High Impact Practices (HIPs)! USDN convened a local government-led process with over 20 members to identify practices with high member interest and GHG reduction potential. The Committee used a very data-driven process to understand member interest and impact potential.
Selecting these High Impact Practices represents a key step toward a new level of strategic investments for USDN. Together with members, we will achieve greater collective impact by developing strategies and wielding collective influence to drive more effective support to members around these practices. We will prioritize the selected HIPs when cultivating new partnerships, investments, and member learning opportunities. 

Our next step will convene members and partners to explore (1) how priorities such as equity, resilience, and other benefits (e.g., health, jobs) can best be enhanced through member work on the identified HIPs and (2) strategies through which our collaboration in USDN and with partners can help many communities to advance implementation of these practices.

 GHG Reduction

Photo Credit:

Seattle Energy Benchmarking Analysis Report 2016 Data

Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge (ACCC) Selects 16 Additional Winners: The Bloomberg ACCC selected Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Columbus, Honolulu, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland OR, San Diego, San Jose, St. Louis, St. Paul, and Washington DC who join Atlanta and Seattle in the two-year program where they will receive resources and support to accelerate progress towards meeting carbon emission reduction goals. 

San Luis Obispo Approves Community Choice Energy Program and Climate Action Plan Development: San Luis Obispo will continue to develop a Community Choice Energy program and will develop a Climate Action Plan with a carbon neutral by 2050 goal.

Honolulu Launches Community Engagement Phase for Climate Action Planning: Honolulu started their community engagement phase, which includes meetings for residents to learn about climate change and help set priorities for Oahu's first Climate Action Plan.

Miami-Dade County Plans for Fossil-Fuel Reduction in City Fleet: Miami-Dade County approved development of a plan to meet goals for reducing gasoline use 30% and diesel use 70% by 2028 in city fleets and transitioning the county's buses to be all electric by 2035.

Asheville Adopts 100% Renewable Energy Goal: Asheville approved a 100% renewable energy goal for municipal operations by 2030.

Seattle Releases Latest Energy Benchmarking Report: Seattle analyzed energy benchmarking data from 2014 to 2016 in its latest report and found that existing benchmarked buildings have reduced total energy use by 3.7% and decreased total carbon emissions by nearly 5%.

New Orleans Selects Winners of the Voluntary Energy Challenge: New Orleans announced winners of its energy challenge, a voluntary program that commits buildings owners to tracking and reducing energy usage over a two-year period, which will expand citywide in 2019.

Climate Resilience

Photo Credit:

David Shankbone - CC BY 3.0

New York City Updates East Side Coastal Resiliency Plan: New York City announced an updated coastal resiliency plan that includes an alternative design to provide flood protection with reduced construction time and improve park access.

Boston Announces Resilient Boston Harbor Vision Plan: Boston released a resilience plan that includes investment in the open space network to prepare for climate change and a commitment of 10% of all new capital funding for resilience projects.

Social Equity

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Chicago Launches Disability Access for Smart Cities Pilot: Chicago will pilot a new tool designed by Smart Cities for All that will help the city evaluate how accessible digital and smart services are for people with disabilities.

Sustainable City Network Article Features Cleveland's Racial Equity Focus in Sustainability and Climate Action: The Sustainable City Network highlighted Cleveland in a recent article on how they are incorporating racial equity in their sustainability and climate action planning work, including using a racial equity tool to ensure racial diversity in their community engagement efforts.

Urban Sustainability

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Milwaukee Passes Green Infrastructure Plan Framework: Milwaukee passed the Green Infrastructure Plan Framework, which requires large development/redevelopment projects to capture the first half-inch of rain through green infrastructure.

Chicago Achieves LEED for Cities Platinum Certification: Chicago received Platinum Certification in the LEED for Cities Program, which allows cities to benchmark and communicate performance in ongoing sustainability initiatives.

Philadelphia Releases Strategic Transportation Plan: Philadelphia released its first Strategic Transportation Plan that envisions a transportation system that benefits all and focuses on shifting trips from cars to low- or no-carbon options.
Austin Bans Food Waste Disposal in Restaurants: Austin banned all food-permitted businesses from disposing organic material, including food scraps and soiled paper products, in landfills requiring them to donate extra food, give scraps to local farms, or compost them.
Detroit's Public Bike Share Program Partners with Lyft: Detroit's public bike share program is partnering with Lyft to offer discounts for users who pick up or drop off bikes at any of the 43 bike stations as part of a six-month pilot program to encourage alternative transportation.
Cincinnati Eliminates Parking Minimum Requirements for New Developments: Cincinnati eliminated parking minimum requirements for new developments and large renovations in several neighborhoods to address traffic congestion and housing affordability.