USDN now helps partners, sustainability professionals, and our followers stay up to date with USDN members' innovations through the Urban Sustainability Bulletin, formally known as the Innovation Report. This newsletter highlights key updates from USDN as well as key accomplishments from our member communities to give you a sense of what is happening in the field of urban sustainability and particularly our three focus areas - GHG Reduction, Climate Resilience, and Social Equity.

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November 2020


2020 Ballot Measures (Unofficial Results)


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Austin TX Approves New Transit Plan: Austin TX voters approved a $7 billion transit plan including a new rail system and rapid bus routes, on-demand shuttles, and park-and-ride stations, as well as approving $460 million for new biking and walking infrastructure.

Boulder CO Approves Franchise Agreement with Regional Utility: Boulder CO voters approved a new 20-year franchise agreement with Xcel Energy, a partnership that will help the city in meeting the goal of 100% renewable energy by 2030.

Columbus OH Approves Green Energy Aggregation Plan: Columbus OH voters approved Issue 1, which offers an opt-out green energy electricity aggregation plan to supply 100% of the city's power needs with renewable energy, including wind and solar, by 2023.

Denver CO Approves Sales Tax to Fund Climate Action: Denver CO voters approved Ballot Measures 2A and 2B, which will increase local sales taxes 0.25% each, with 2B directing funds to homeless relief efforts and 2A funding climate action efforts related to jobs, renewable energy, environmental/climate justice programs, resilient transit, and residential energy efficiency with a focus in low-income and communities of color.


 GHG Reduction


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Boise ID Launches Climate Action Division: Boise ID is creating a new Climate Action Division within the city to support efforts on reducing the city’s impact on the environment and work toward Boise’s goal of using 100% clean energy by 2035.

Santa Barbara CA to Increase GHG Reduction Goal: Santa Barbara CA’s City Council approved an update to the city’s 2012 Climate Action Plan, aiming to reduce its GHG emissions and get to carbon neutrality by 2035.

Las Cruces NM Adopts Resolution for Climate Action Plan: Las Cruces NM approved a resolution to adopt a climate action plan with a goal of reducing GHG emissions 19% by 2030 and a long-term goal of 73% GHG reduction by 2050.

San Leandro CA Releases Climate Action Plan Update: San Leandro CA released a Climate Action Plan update with GHG targets for 2030 and 2050, and over 120 strategies divided into sectors such as resilience, health, transportation, energy, and infrastructure for public review in English, Spanish and Chinese.

Orlando FL Commits to Net Zero Carbon by 2050: Orlando FL’s Utilities Commission publicly committed to disinvesting from coal by 2027 and moving to net zero carbon by 2050 by ramping up efficiency, renewables, storage, and other technologies.

Burlington VT Release Building Electrification Proposal: Burlington VT released a proposal to incentivize new development to use efficient electric power for heating needs and to reduce the construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure in the future to help move them to net zero energy.


Climate Resilience 


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Charleston SC Launches Program to Combat Flooding: Charleston SC launched the Rainproof program where volunteers will install rain gardens and rain barrels on business and residential properties and track data on captured rainwater that is diverted from the central stormwater drainage system.
 
Ann Arbor MI Launches First Solar Resilience Hub: Ann Arbor MI worked with a local organization to install a 23 kW solar energy and battery storage system at a community center to supply nearly 100% of its electricity and provide up to three days of power in case of an outage, which designates the center as a resilience hub to provide assistance and care during or after a disaster.

Social Equity and Community Engagement


 

Seattle WA Launches Equitable Communities Initiatives: The Mayor of Seattle WA launched an Equitable Communities Initiative which includes an Equitable Development Monitoring Program to measure the city’s progress and a commitment to make more investments where needed.

Honolulu HI Initiates Climate Adaptation Strategy: The City and County of Honolulu HI launched their Climate Ready O’ahu initiative to outline a path towards reducing GHG emissions and protecting vulnerable communities from the immediate impacts of climate change.

Contra Costa County CA Includes Just Transition in Climate Resolution: Contra Costa County CA adopted a Climate Emergency Resolution with a Just Transition framework to move away from fossil fuels, develop a building electrification code for new construction, and establish an Interdepartmental Task Force to implement their Climate Action Plan.


Urban Sustainability 


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City of Asheville
 

Breckenridge CO Receives Green Destinations Recognition for COVID Recovery: Breckenridge CO received recognition in Green Destinations’ Sustainable Top 100 competition for supporting local businesses and residents during COVID-19 recovery.

Park City UT Wins WWF's One Planet City Challenge: Park City UT is the United States’ national winner of the World Wildlife Fund’s One Planet City Challenge, which recognizes cities with strong efforts to cut carbon pollution and build resilience.

West Hollywood CA Receives Awards for Sustainability Leadership: West Hollywood has received awards at the local, regional, and national level including the Leadership in Sustainability Award of Excellence from APA, the Clean Cities: Alternative Fuels and Infrastructure Award of Merit, and the Innovation in Green Community Planning Award of Merit.

Orlando FL Releases Future-Ready Plan: Orlando FL shared their smart city strategy in their Future-Ready Master Plan and Implementation Roadmap, focused on addressing community needs through innovation, sustainability, and technology.

Los Angeles CA Launches Urban Air Mobility Roadmap and Approves Transit Strategic Plan: Los Angeles CA and World Economic Forum developed Principles of the Urban Sky, an Urban Air Mobility roadmap to guide the sustainable and equitable use of air passenger and cargo transportation, including Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). The Los Angeles CA Metro Transportation Agency also approved a 10-year strategic plan, called Moving Beyond Sustainability, with commitments including a transition to a 100% electric bus fleet by 2030 and a tripling of onsite renewable energy generation.

Asheville NC Launches First Solar Installation: Asheville NC launched their first solar installation, providing 57.5 kW of renewable energy to support their 100% renewable energy and 4% annual carbon reduction goals.