More cities and counties are eager to create sustainability plans that bring together their environmental, economic, and social initiatives under one holistic vision. But the process can be daunting and complex, especially for cash-strapped jurisdictions with small staffs.
Fortunately, big cities like New York, with its renowned PlaNYC sustainability plan, have blazed the trail by developing a winning process for creating a plan that sets ambitious but achievable goals that are measured and reported over time. The best practices pioneered by New York have been studied and distilled in a Sustainability Planning Toolkit from ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA.
Alex Aylett at Worldchanging reviews the toolkit and delves into the biggest challenges local government staff face as they begin to develop their sustainability plans: how to create and sustain political will, hire a sustainability coordinator, build a planning team, engage diverse stakeholders in the planning process (from city hall departments to community leaders, academics, and ordinary citizens), and manage a sprawling process centrally.
Thanks to Don Knapp