Sep 24, 2014

The Age of Sustainable Development

Is it really the Age of Sustainable Development?
Jeffery Sacks, a Columbia University professor, is teaching a free course over the next few weeks on Coursera. The title, "The Age of Sustainable Development," evokes a sense of large scale transition in our society and, indeed, he points out many elements coming together that indicate this change is happening.

Looking around the city it's obvious we are experiencing another growth spurt. One of our urban farming partners just had two of their city block farm properties be put on the market to sell for further real estate development. Our office at the Seattle Impact Hub is surrounded by a newly vibrant Pioneer Square community of businesses. Urbanization is upon us and is expected to continue toward greater densification. The Urban Land institute has recognized this and developed helpful frameworks for communities to use to address their resilience as they densify. Disasters like Hurricane Sandy illustrate our vulnerability in densely populated regions.

All sorts of good things happen in cities. People use less energy because they can walk, bike, or ride transit. There is more innovation in cities due to cross-pollination of ideas. Land outside of the city can be preserved for farms and recreation, giving city dwellers easy access to locally grown food and nature.

Running with the trend we can use this growth as an opportunity to build the cities we want. More green spaces, bike paths, resilient buildings and roadways. The Age of Sustainable Development is bringing with it great opportunities to make our cities better, cleaner, safer, more resilient, and overall more vibrant for all.

Join us on October 2nd at the PNW Resilience Challenge Summit where an impressive line-up of regional leaders will launch us into a multi-year initiative aimed at reinventing our cities for the challenges of the future.

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