PSU program could bridge gaps between Portland and Waco (and others)
By Andy Giegerich
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
Representatives of several cities are in town to hear more about sustainable development through PSU's Urban Accelerator program.
Municipal leaders from an array of cities are hitting town this week to learn more about adding sustainable development within their own environs.
The six cities — Louisville, Ky., Portland, Maine, Sacramento, El Paso, Texas, Waco, Texas and Wichita, Kan. — are part of Portland State University's Urban Sustainability Accelerator, a year-long program.
The "sustainability incubator" program aims to share Portland's expertise in such areas as reducing greenhouse gas emissions (down 6 percent below 1990 levels, whereas the rest of the nation posted a 12 percent increase).
The program is just as noteworthy for its city participants. Waco, for instance, may not be known for its green building strategies, per se.
"I can’t speak to other’s perceptions of cities like Waco, particularly as it relates to sustainability: It’s such a loosely defined concept and means so many different things to different people," said Chris McGowan, director of urban development for the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce.
McGowan added that 1,000 people move to Texas every day, making it the nation's fastest growing state.
"Framing a conversation related to the opportunity to maximize the return on that growth seems to resonate well," he said.
Along with helping cities reduce their greenhouse gases, the program is training municipal representatives on transportation mores, responsible land use, green infrastructure strategies and curbing urban sprawl.
Wichita, for instance, is seeking advice on redeveloping a 9.5-acre site that would serve as a catalyst for bike lane improvements, pedestrian access and in general, U.S. Green Building Council-certified work.
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