Sustainable Cities: Must Municipalities Have No Plan

  June 7, 2016

By Dan Hounsell

Thirty-two percent of local governments have adopted a sustainability plan, according to a national survey of U.S. cities and counties. Among the responding jurisdictions that have adopted plans, nearly 68 percent indicated that those plans contain goals or strategies related to economic development. Other plan priorities include energy conservation — 60 percent — and disaster mitigation — 48 percent.

The survey was conducted by the International City/County Management Association, the Sustainable Communities and Small Town and Rural Planning Divisions of the American Planning Association, Binghamton University, Cornell University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Among the survey’s other findings:

• In addition to conducting energy audits — 63 percent — the most often cited actions taken by local governments to enhance energy efficiency included upgrading or retrofitting: facilities to increase lighting efficiency, 64 percent; heating or air conditioning, 49 percent; streetlights and other exterior lighting, 45 percent; and traffic signals to increase efficiency, 35 percent.

• Nineteen percent of local governments dedicated budget resources specifically to sustainability or environmental protection. When describing staffing, 9 percent had dedicated staff across multiple departments, another 9 percent had dedicated staff in one department, and 6 percnt had dedicated staff in either the chief elected or chief appointed official's office. Forty-two percent of local governments had no staffing, recognition of goal accomplishment, or task force or committee dedicated to sustainability issues.

• More than three-quarters of local governments said they had no sustainable building policy in place. Only 12 percent of those that did indicated that the policy resulted in more green buildings.

• Seventy-six percent of local governments indicated that they had responded to a major disaster during the past 15 years. Among those, 53 percent had dealt with a flood, 51 percent with a blizzard or ice storm, and 24 percent with a hurricane.

For more on the survey, visit here.

This Quick Read was submitted by Dan Hounsell, editor-in-chief of Facility Maintenance Decisions, dan.hounsell@tradepressmedia.com. Read about building energy audits at https://www.facilitiesnet.com/14836FMD.


Read next on FacilitiesNet