Sustainability in the United States is the Concern of a Select Few
A new report published by the RICS Foundation claims that current attempts to make US cities more sustainable are insufficient and fragmented. The study, "Painting the town green", analyses the use of urban sustainability indicators to monitor progress and drive change. The author, US-based architect and urban planner Anindita Mitra, concludes that, whilst interest in sustainability indicators is growing rapidly throughout the United States, their use to drive policy remains the concern of a select few. The potential to use these indicators to identify areas in need of improvement is still largely untapped.
"Painting the town green" reviews indicator programmes from around the United States, paying particular attention to the 'Sustainable Seattle' programme (Washington) and the 'Austin Sustainability Indicators Programme' (Texas). Mitra uses these examples as a basis for recommendations to assist built environment practitioners who wish to implement their own sustainability programmes. These include the need to clarify the aims of a programme in its early stages and to ensure that indicators are relevant to the needs of the community.
The report encourages built environment practitioners to make use of indicators: "Businesses in particular have much to offer and much to gain from the implementation of urban sustainability programmes." This is a point that RICS Foundation Executive Director David Fitzpatrick is keen to stress: "The most important lesson to be drawn from this study is that the future of our towns and cities should not be left to a small group of 'champions'. If progress is to be made, we must all play our part."
NOTES TO EDITORS
Painting the town green is available for media purposes free of charge. To obtain a copy, contact Jon Fletcher at [email protected] or on +44 (0)20 7695 1624. The report is available for download, priced UK£15 (US$23.85), from the RICS Foundation website at:
http://www.rics-foundation.org/mitra. The printed report can be purchased from RICS Books: http://www.ricsbooks.com/productInfo.asp?product_id=3850.
Anindita Mitra is available for comment. You can email her at [email protected].
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Posted January 17, 2003