Cities are taking the lead in working towards a sustainable future, yet there's so much left to do. It's time for professionals to take a systems approach, argues Neal Peirce.
"From Philadelphia to Seattle, Boston to San Diego, city officials agree that green urban settings are a critical draw in an era when highly educated, mobile professional workers -- the economic gold of the times -- gravitate to attractive, welcoming, and healthy places."
"What's more, claim the apostles of green, property tax yields from homes and apartments near parks are significantly higher. Tree-lined streets alone increase property values some 15 percent."
"Quite quickly in this decade, the familiar definition of 'green' has advanced from trees and plants and parks to a much more inclusive vision of city and metropolitan planning. Moreover, it now comprises an array of environmental issues, including energy saving and renewable sources, reduced burning of fossil fuels, cleaner air and water, improved wastewater removal systems, and redevelopment of 'brownfields' sites. Out across the nation, there's fast-growing demand for public transit to save energy and transit-oriented development to curb sprawl."
"All these developments link closely to the big climate-change issues of the time. Indeed, global warming has moved quickly up the agenda list of many cities and counties despite -- or, arguably, in reaction to -- the Bush administration's studied indifference."
"Then there's the challenge to the professionals -- the architects, planners, designers, engineers, builders, utility representatives, city and county housing officials, and others engaged on the front line of building and reshaping communities."