"What a Great Conference!"

Save the Date: October 2-3, 2018

The Growing Sustainable Communities Conference celebrated its 10th anniversary at the Grand River Center in the Port of Dubuque on Oct. 3-4 with just over 500 attendees.

Check out our programming page to read descriptions and download the presentation files of this year's workshops, which featured presenters from across the continent who delivered 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 is the largest and longest standing sustainability conference in the Midwest and will be held again this year at the Grand River Center located in the Port of Dubuque at 500 Bell Street (View Map). The 11th annual conference on Oct. 2-3, 2018 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.

Inspirational 2017 Keynote Speakers

GSCC Urban revitalization strategist and Peabody Award winning broadcaster Majora Carter delivered the Tuesday luncheon keynote address, entitled Home(town) Security; Kristin Baja, climate resilience officer for the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, delivered the Wednesday morning plenary address; and Louie Psihoyos, Oscar winning documentary filmmaker and executive director of the Oceanic Preservation Society, presented the Wednesday luncheon keynote address.

Read more about our keynotes here.

Outstanding Programming

This year's conference included workshop speakers with a wide range of expertise, including representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Arbor Day Foundation, the Iowa Economic Development Authority, the Government Alliance on Race & Equity, the Econservation Institute, Great Plains Institute, Green Iowa AmeriCorps, the Iowa Clean Cities Coalition, the Midwest Renewable Energy Association, the Sustainable Iowa Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy and businesses such as General Electric, HDR, Shive-Hattery, and many others.

Speakers from municipal governments large and small also presented case studies on the sustainability initiatives in their respective communities, from large cities like Minneapolis, New Orleans, Nashville, Kansas City, Charlotte and Des Moines, to Broward County, Fla., and the small and mid-sized communities of Brookings, S.D., Columbia, Mo., South Euclid, Ohio, Madison, Wis., New Lebanon, Ohio, and the Iowa communities of Cedar Rapids, Muscatine, Cedar Falls and Dubuque. Researchers from numerous universities and nonprofits also presented their findings.

Workshop topics at this year's event included tree canopy projects and programs, watershed and stormwater management, brownfield redevelopment, solar energy, small-town sustainability, biogas conversion, equity, placemaking, livability, climate action planning, education/community partnerships, mobility planning and design, sustainability tools and frameworks, alternative fuel vehicles, green building and sustainable development, local foods, LED streetlight conversions, affordable housing initiatives, green infrastructure, sustainability metrics, training and community engagement, among others.

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


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 for 2017. To join our sponsors in 2018 click here.

AARP   |   Alliant Energy   |   American Forests   |   AWWA   |   Bartlett & West
Big Wave Strategies   |   Bioferm Energy Systems   |   bizTimes   |   Black Hills Energy
Borgert Products, Inc.   |   Cartegraph   |   Conlon Construction Co
Crescent Electric Supply Company   |   Dubuque Bank and Trust (DB&T)   |   Dupaco
Eagle Point Solar   |   Global Traffic Technologies   |   Gronen Properties/Restoration
H & H Energy Services   |   HBK Engineering, LLC   |   HDR, Inc.   |   HousingNOLA
HR Green, Inc.   |   Huff & Huff   |   Hydro-ecology Services, N.A.   |   IIW
Iowa Economic Development Authority   |   ITC Transco   |   John Deere
Midwest Floating Island   |   Midwest Renewable Energy Assoc.
Northeast Iowa Community College   |   Olsson Associates   |   Premier Bank   |   Ramboll
Red Lion Renewables   |   Shive-Hattery   |   SmithGroupJJR   |   State Revolving Fund/Iowa DNR
Suez   |   SunPeak   |   Sustainable City Network   |   TrueNorth Companies   |   Unison Solutions
University of Dubuque   |   University of Iowa   |   Van Meter, Inc.   |   WSP

Rave Reviews

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

"I was blown away by the quality of the keynote speakers!"

"This conference is one of the most useful professional conferences I attend because of its mix of presenters from multiple sectors: non-profit, academic, municipal, business. We often talk about partnerships across these sectors, and this conference helps make those partnerships happen."

"Rigorous, relevant content, unpacked in the context of a beautiful city."

"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."

"Within 15 minutes of being back at work and catching up on email I was using my notes from the conference."

"Great speakers, cutting edge presentations, and many networking opportunities with peers!"

"I always leave this conference energized and with new ideas to take back to my community."

"The conference generated multiple ideas in my mind and stirred an excitement in my soul for how I could help my community and my business. The speakers were inspiring and thought provoking and made me question myself and my ideas. Well done Dubuque!"

"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."

"The sessions at the Growing Sustainable Communities Conference were inspiring and the content was adaptable to the sustainability work we do in higher education."

"This was my first sustainable communities conference and I was very impressed with the workshop topics. I was able to gather information and ideas that I know will help my community obtain our goals now and in the future."

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