Save the Date!

10th Annual Conference Slated Oct. 3-4, 2017

Our 9th annual conference was attended by approximately 460 people, making it the largest and longest standing sustainability conference in the Midwest. Now we're gearing up for our 10th anniversary event and we'll be working hard to make it our best show ever! With more than 25 workshops, three mobile tours, two keynote luncheons, a breakfast plenary session, a networking reception and dozens of vendors and exhibitors, our 2016 attendees found valuable take-aways in every hour of this two-day event.

Check out our programming page after June 1 to read descriptions of this year's workshops, which will feature presenters from across the continent who will deliver new research, case studies and the latest best practices to help attendees plan and implement projects and programs related to economic prosperity, ecologic integrity, social vibrancy, equity and resilience.

Hosted by the City of Dubuque, Iowa and Sustainable City Network, the Growing Sustainable Communities Conference will be held again on Oct. 3-4, 2017 at the Grand River Center located in the Port of Dubuque at 500 Bell Street (View Map). The 10th annual conference will be two days of education, inspiration and collaboration on topics of interest to anyone who cares about creating great towns and cities that stand the test of time.

Click here to view last year's conference program

Inspirational Keynote Speakers

GSCC At our 2016 event, L. Hunter Lovins, President/Founder of Natural Capitalism Solutions delivered the Tuesday luncheon keynote address. Dr. Neal Phillip, chairperson, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, Bronx Community College/CUNY, delivered the Wednesday morning plenary address; and Dr. Manuel Pastor, professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California, presented the Wednesday luncheon keynote address.

Read more about our keynotes here.

Outstanding Programming

The 9th annual conference included workshop speakers with a wide range of expertise, including representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Wildlife Federation, the Iowa Economic Development Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corp., the New Mexico State Energy Office and businesses such as General Electric, Burns & McDonnell, HDR, Shive-Hattery, and many others.

A wide variety of municipal professionals also presented case studies on the sustainability initiatives in their respective communities, including the cities of Minneapolis, Minn., Montclair, N.J., Cedar Hill, Texas, Phoenix, Ariz., Pittsburgh, Penn., South Bend, Ind., Hobart, Ind., South Sioux City, Neb., Mundelein, Ill., Evanston, Ill., Springfield, Ill. and the Iowa communities of Clinton, Bloomfield, Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and Dubuque. Researchers from 10 universities and numerous nonprofits also presented their findings.

Topics included the latest information on water & air quality monitoring, developing circular economies, event-based strategic planning, peer-to-peer learning, ethics, city/school partnerships, Municipal Action Plans, energy management, combined heat and power, green building, wood gasification, brownfield redevelopment, deconstruction, resiliency & disaster management, urban agriculture & indoor farming, sustainable infrastructure, stakeholder engagement, certification frameworks, waste-to-energy, green roofs, green infrastructure & stormwater management, embedded technologies & remote monitoring, affordable housing, renewable energy, recycling, reducing emissions, drought mitigation, smart meters, landfill diversion, health & wellness programs, LED lighting, social equity, alternative fuel vehicles and sustainability metrics, among others.

Complete workshop descriptions and downloadable presentation slides can be found on our programming page.


For those interested in presenting at our 10th annual event, watch for our Call for Presentations in late January or early February. If you miss the email, you'll find a link to the submission page here. Registration for the 2017 event will begin on June 1.


Thank You 2017 Sponsors!

Presented by the City of Dubuque and Sustainable City Network, the Growing Sustainable Communities Conference is sponsored by Crescent Electric Supply Co. and other corporate sponsors.

Here's a list of the sponsors who have signed on so far. To join them click here.

Alliant Energy   |   Borgert Products, Inc.   |   Conlon Construction Co
Crescent Electric Supply Company   |   Dubuque Bank and Trust (DB&T)
Eagle Point Solar   |   Fence Talk Digital   |   Gronen Properties/Restoration
H & H Energy Services   |   HR Green, Inc.   |   ITC Transco   |   Kay Park Recreation
NextHome Realty   |   Suez   |   Sustainable City Network   |   TrueNorth Companies
Unison Solutions   |   Van Meter, Inc.   |   AARP   |   Shive-Hattery   |   Dupaco

Rave Reviews

Here's what some of the attendees said about previous conferences:

"This conference was amazing. Very uplifting and empowering."

"I was impressed by the quality of the programming, the speakers, the venue, the food, the hotel accommodations and the overall organization of the conference. Top Notch!"

"This is a good place to meet with others and hear from industry and local government professionals who are working on similar initiatives, and maybe having the same issues. The keynote speakers were worldclass and inspirational. I would highly recommend this conference."

"Besides the information provided in the workshops, plenary speakers and the exhibit hall, fellow attendees were a useful source of information."

"This conference did a great job of combining practical case studies with dream-big sustainability goal-setting conversations. I enjoyed all three of the keynote speakers and enjoyed getting out on one of the field trips, too. Dubuque is an impressive role model!"

"The conference was full of practical information that can be implemented in communities of all sizes. The range of people attending, from students, to private industry, to non-profits, to city employees made for great discussions."

The GSC Conference is one of the most well-run and friendly conferences I have attended. As a presenter, the coordination was amazing. As an attendee the space was comfortable, well marked and easy to navigate. The sessions were professional and I appreciate the effort made to allow us to obtain CEU's."

"One of the best conferences I've attended on sustainability. Valued packed at an affordable price. I will be returning."