Sustainable communities are achievable when a community is economically, environmentally and socially healthy and resilient. A sustainable community, just like any other, is faced with many challenges, but it takes more community-based approaches to tackle the issues and meet their goals. A sustainable community is defined by the Environmental Protection Agency as a community that “should establish goals and a vision by developing more efficient and effective ways in which to live and grow. It also will involve the participation of the entire community in creating a vision of the community’s future that balances economic, environmental and social needs.” The Institute for Sustainable Communities focuses on empowering communities so they can achieve the state of sustainability in their environment, social and economic sects of the community.
The Institute for Sustainable Communities was formed in 1999 by former Vermont Governor Madeleine M. Kunin. ISC focuses on communities uplifting and motivating themselves towards a built sustainable environment.
“A sustainable community seeks a better quality of life for the whole community without compromising the wellbeing of other communities, healthy ecosystems, effective governance supported by meaningful and broad-based citizen participation and economic security,” said Governor Kunin.
The ISC works in different countries across the world, focusing on the climate, citizen, industry and urban situations. The countries include the U.S., Serbia, China, Bangladesh and India. The ISC recognizes that each country, city and community is unique and has its own adversaries to face. These communities are used as a stepping stone for countries that already have working visions of becoming a fully-functional sustainable community. Countries that are most vulnerable to climate change, with the largest outputs of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, include the U.S., China and India. They are given ideas for successful urban systems and sustainable manufacturing.
Urban systems focus on creating alliances, academies, educational services, etc. that can be utilized in the different countries. For example, the Western Adaptation Alliance (WAA) focuses on connecting 13 different cities in Southwest USA, who all have similar climate adaptation plans to form a support group discussing future ideas, impacts, benefits and drawbacks of their current situation. The urban systems are specific to issues in an area, as climate change is very region specific. So the urban systems for each area could be entirely different, depends of the resiliency of the city, current infrastructure and typical weather patterns in the area.
On the other hand, sustainable manufacturing can be more universal. All areas need a sustainable system of manufacturing as a solid basis towards a sustainable built environment. Sustainable manufacturing through training centers, global partnerships and technologies try to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in an area. For example, in China there are centers located in the two most industrious cities in China that trains factory managers to focus on reducing greenhouse gases in the industry, the environment, health safety, lowering hazards and overall improving the quality of life of worker’s.
Through outreach, training, agencies, alliances, conferences, workshops and education, the Institute for Sustainable Communities is achieving their goals towards a more sustainable built environment. They measure their successes in real-time based on the initiatives that the place in a community and the sustainability they achieve. Through their commitment to the climate, industry, citizens, and urban infrastructure, they are able to transform communities into fully-functioning sustainable places to live.
– Charisma Thapa