Hosted by the City of Dubuque, Iowa and Sustainable City Network, the Growing Sustainable Communities Conference - Midwestern Region will be held at the Grand River Center located in the Port of Dubuque at 500 Bell Street (View Map). The 7th annual Conference is a two-day educational opportunity for municipal professionals, elected officials and business leaders who have a common interest in economic, environmental, and social/cultural sustainability. The conference will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday Oct. 7 and 8, 2014.
Attendees: Many of our workshops may qualify for professional development hours (PDHs) through the Iowa Engineering and Land Surveying Board and other accreditation organizations. Sustainable City Network will keep attendee rosters on file for three years.
Programming sessions subject to change without notice.
Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014
9:00 – 10:00 am
10:00 – 11:30 am
Workshop Session 1
Walking Tour of Dubuque's Historic Washington Neighborhood and Bee Branch Watershed Flood Mitigation Project
The Washington Neighborhood is one of Dubuque's oldest and most diverse neighbrohoods, covering 55 square blocks, and is home to 1,900 residents. A majority of the properties within the neighborhood were built prior to 1939; many of the buildings date to the 1880's and 1890's.
This historic neighborhood has been a major focus for reinvestment efforts by the City of Dubuque since 2005. Its historic architecture, central location, and wide range of housing stock provide key assets to build upon.
Read About the Washington Neighborhood Project
Dubuque's 6.5 square mile Bee Branch watershed is where more than 50 percent of Dubuque residents live or work. The multi-phased investment to mitigate flooding, improve water quality, stimulate investment and enhance quality of life has been nationally recognized as a watershed management best practice.
- Unlocking Your Potential for Clean Energy
Sponsored by: Optony, Inc., University of Wisconsin-Platteville
In this presentation, Michael Ahern of Ever-Green Energy will profile projects that vary in scale, geography, business structure, and stakeholder involvement and feature the evaluation or application of district heating and cooling, combined heat and power, biogas, industrial or commercial waste heat, thermal storage, solar PV, and solar thermal. Each project is in a different stage of development, ranging from feasibility to operation.
Presenters: Michael Ahern, Ever-Green Energy; and Benjamin Foster, Optony
Benjamin Foster of Optony, Inc., will describe the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Roadmap platform, which provides free resources to local government agencies, regional organizations, businesses and electric utilities. Through a tailored Solar Roadmap, interested communities can join more than 100 others in transforming their regional environments and economies with clean energy solutions.
- Urban Forestry Panel Discussion
Sponsored by: Shive-Hattery Architecture-Engineering and The Kestrel Design Group
Urban forests are gaining attention, not only for making a community more attractive, but also for practical applications like stormwater management. This session will discuss the benefits of urban forests, beginning with Minnesota’s stormwater manual and credits calculator, which is one of the first to give stormwater credits for trees. The presentation will detail the latest research on measuring stormwater quantity and quality benefits provided by tree/soil systems.
Presenters: Peter MacDonagh, The Kestrel Design Group; Edith Makra, Metropolitan Mayors Caucus; and Beth Corrigan, the Morton Arboretum
The session also will discuss how incorporating trees and plants can contribute to a city’s third bottom line by enhancing property values and supporting thriving business districts, including how to use trees, flowers and other plants to contribute to sustainable and livable communities, and how to build a regional collaborative effort to support the urban forest and leverage resources from a wide number of partners. The best ideas from communities of all sizes from across the country will be discussed.
11:35 am – 1:15 pm
Luncheon and Keynote Address in the Grand Ballroom
Storm Cunningham is CEO of ReCitizen, L3C in Washington, DC. ReCitizen, L3C is a Washington, DC-based global network for citizen-led regeneration of communities and natural resources. As an L3C (a non-profit / for-profit hybrid), ReCitizen provides free online tools for crowdsourcing, crowdmapping, and crowdfunding the renewal of cities, farms, and nature.
Storm is the author of 2002’s The Restoration Economy, which has been hailed by government and business leaders around the world as “Extraordinary”, “Remarkable”, “A modern classic”, “A landmark work”, “Required reading”, and “The most important and valuable business book I have read in many years.”
His second book, reWealth, was published by McGraw-Hill in 2008. George Ochs, Director of Real Asset Investment at JP Morgan calls Storm “the world’s thought leader on community revitalization and natural resource restoration” and calls reWealth: “The secret weapon…for economic recovery at both local and global scales.”
Storm’s third book, FIXERS: New Leaders for Broken Times, will be published in 2015. It will be the first book to document the global rise of Adaptive Renewal in this climate of uncertainty.
Storm Cunningham was—from 1996 to 2002—Director, Strategic Initiatives at the Construction Specifications Institute, a 50+ year-old association of 18,000 architects, engineers, contractors, and manufacturers.
A former Green Beret SCUBA medic with the U.S. Army’s 7th Special Forces Group, he is an avid SCUBA diver, motorcyclist, and amateur herpetologist. He lives in Arlington, Virginia, USA.
Read more about Storm Cunningham.
1:30 – 2:45 pm
Workshop Session 2
- Energy Retrofits: Helping Communities Go Green
Sponsored by: John Deere and Sebesta Blomberg
Everyone knows energy retrofits can have astonishing financial returns, but finding the money to make that initial investment can be a challenge to residents, civic organizations and businesses, large and small. This session will describe two local programs that help community members get over that hump.
Presenters: Scott Timm, City of Fairfield, Iowa; and Eric Coffman, Green Dubuque
The Alliant Energy Hometown Rewards Program is a partnership with communities that engages residents, local governments, businesses and industries to develop and implement energy saving initiatives. Designed for small- to mid-sized Iowa towns, this innovative program provides technical and financial assistance, while the communities provide human capital and local knowledge. This session will share the process of developing and delivering a customized program – including tips for goal setting, sustainability plan development and implementation, and measuring results.
In the second half of the session, Eric Coffman of Green Dubuque will describe the Grants to Green program. The Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque has $1.2 million to spend on energy retrofits of buildings owned or leased by area nonprofit organizations. Several dozen organizations have had energy audits and are in various stages of implementing energy retrofit projects. This session will describe the program and report on its progress so far.
2:45 – 3:15 pm
Browse Exhibitor Booths
Join us in the Exhibit Hall on the ground floor for refreshments, networking and exhibitor demos.
3:15 – 4:15 pm
Workshop Session 3
- The Saint Paul Sustainable Building Policy - A Model of Flexibility & Accountability
Sponsored by: Green Electronics Council
In 2010 the Saint Paul mayor and city council adopted a sustainable building policy that applies to all new city buildings, as well as privately developed new construction projects that receive more than $200,000 in public investment. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency granted funds to Saint Paul for the purpose of developing this model policy that other municipalities can borrow and replicate. The presenters will discuss how the policy was developed, the details of its content and useful tools to help ensure compliance. They will also discuss lessons learned and recommendations for other municipalities that are considering adopting a green building policy. The presentation will be of interest to developers, contractors, policy makers, planners and the general public.
Presenters: Kurt Schultz, City of Saint Paul, Minn.; and Richard Strong, Center for Sustainable Building Research
- Revitalizing Brownfields with EPA Technical Assistance
Sponsored by: D.A. Davidson
EPA Region 7 provided technical assistance to the local government and other stakeholders in Odgen, Iowa, to transform several brownfields properties into community assets. Subsequent to the EPA assistance, a new medical clinic was constructed on one of the properties and other businesses filled previously empty storefronts near the new clinic. Audience members also will learn about technical assistance available from EPA to make communities more sustainable.
Presenters: David Doyle, U.S. EPA; and Donovan Olson, City of Ogden, Iowa
4:15 – 5:45 pm
Join us in the Exhibit Hall on the ground floor for libations and heavy hors d'oeuvres. This is a chance for attendees of the Tuesday and Wednesday conference sessions to meet and greet their peers and conference speakers, sponsors and organizers in a casual atmosphere.
Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014
7:30 – 8:00 am
8:00 – 9:00 am
Continental Breakfast with Plenary Speaker
Presenter: Dr. Yogesh Shah, Associate Dean of Global Health, Des Moines University
Dr. Yogesh Shah brings to Des Moines University an expertise in geriatrics and the health effects of climate, as well as a passion for improving the health of people around the world. He is triple-board-certified in family medicine, geriatrics and hospice and palliative care. He was awarded a Fulbright scholarship in March, 2013 to develop palliative care education curriculum in Rwanda.
Dr. Shah has been instrumental in establishing the city of Des Moines as a member of the World Health Organization's network of age-friendly cities. He also led the creation of the Heartland Global Health Consortium, and the Heartland Climate Health Consortium, a collaborative of Iowa educational institutions and leaders promoting the effects climate change has on nutrition and human health. Dr. Shah has been invited to speak at the White House task force on climate change and be part of the first ever World Health Organization conference in Geneva on climate and health.
Dr. Shah, who was born in Mumbai, India, has received the Passport to Prosperity Award, which honors individuals who immigrated to the state of Iowa and have contributed significantly to the community. He lives in Clive, Iowa, with his wife Deval and their two children Rishi and Maya.
9:00 – 10:15 am
Workshop Session 4
- Complete Streets in Iowa’s Blue Zone
Sponsored by: HDR Engineering and True North Companies
In 2012, Gov. Terry Branstad announced that four Iowa communities, including the city of Mason City, would become the first Iowa demonstration sites for the Healthways Blue Zone Project, a community-driven well-being improvement initiative designed to make healthy choices easier through permanent changes to environment, policy, and social networks. In this session, you’ll learn how Mason City, the Iowa Department of Transportation and the Blue Zone Design Team worked together to apply complete streets concepts to the Highway 122 reconstruction project through the heart of the city. The group narrowed traffic lanes, improved intersections, added sidewalks and bike lanes, and installed curb ramps to meet ADA specifications. The cooperative effort found ways to meet the needs of drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and those with special needs, all while creating a transportation corridor that encourages safer, healthier lifestyles, a cleaner environment and a more sustainable community for all.
Presenters: Chris Malmberg, HDR, Inc.; and Brent Trout, City of Mason City, Iowa
- Economic Growth and Cultural Vibrancy Through Creative Placemaking
Sponsored by: Shive-Hattery Architecture-Engineering and Gronen Properties-Restoration
This presentation will provide examples of how your community can create jobs, attract tourism and enhance cultural vibrancy through creative placemaking.
Presenters: Jim Tischler, Director, Michigan State Housing Development Authority, Community Development Division; and Paula Neuhaus, Director, Art Gumbo Dubuque
The MIplace Partnership is a collaborative effort of multiple state agencies and the 40-member public/private Sense of Place Council in the state of Michigan. Initiatives of the partnership include: self-assessment and technical assistance tools for local officials and stakeholders; a six module placemaking curriculum and guidebook; and strategic work with state agencies to help them institutionalize placemaking as an economic and community development strategy. In this session one of the principal architects of this initiative will outline the steps in the process, preview the tools, curriculum and guidebook, and honestly discuss barriers and successes.
In the second half of the presentation, attendees will learn about Art Gumbo Dubuque. Launched four years ago to provide crowd funding for arts and creative placemaking projects, AG has recently introduced “Smart Gumbo,” a crowd-funding source for smart ideas that impact the local economy, promote a healthy environment and enhance cultural vibrancy.
10:15 – 10:45 am
Browse Exhibitor Booths
Join us in the Exhibit Hall on the ground floor for refreshments, networking and exhibitor demos.
10:45 – 12:00 pm
Workshop Session 5
Tour of Dubuque's New Water & Resource Recovery Center
The City of Dubuque’s Water & Resource Recovery Center (W&RRC) is a secondary wastewater treatment facility.
The $67 million conversion from a wastewater treatment facility to the Water & Resource Recovery Center incorporates anaerobic digestion and allows wastewater effluent to be used for geothermal heating and cooling. The facility is powered by alternative energy, collects high strength organics from local businesses and distributes waste product to local farmers as a soil amendment.
Read More About the Project
- Local Governments, Social Equity, and Sustainable Communities
Sponsored by: Greater Dubuque Development Corp.
Without a commitment to social equity, local governments may only be part-way to achieving true sustainability. They might have programs that protect the natural environment, reduce energy use, or address other aspects of sustainability, but do not strengthen the social foundation for viability.
Presenters: Jim Svara, University of Carolina Chapel Hill & Arizona State University; and Katherine Takai, Center for Sustainable Communities, International City/County Management Association (ICMA)
Based on research sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), this presentation will highlight leading practices and achievements of sustainable communities created through a comprehensive, integrated approach to sustainability that is supported by inclusive engagement, equal access to services, and livable neighborhoods. The presentation will include findings from this study and examples from the nine case study communities, as well as a conceptual map for analyzing components of a comprehensive community sustainability program and how social equity is related.
The audience will leave with a greater awareness of what local governments nation-wide are doing to increase social sustainability and various strategies for increasing social equity through public participation and inclusive programming, especially in communities with diverse and low-income populations; models for engaging in partnerships to address social equity issues; and integrated approaches to sustainability within local government.
12:05 – 1:45 pm
Luncheon and Keynote Address in the Grand Ballroom
Gil Penalosa is passionate about cities for all people. Gil advises decision makers and communities on how to create vibrant cities and healthy communities for everyone regardless of social, economic, or ethnic background. His focus is the design and use of parks and streets as great public places, as well as sustainable mobility: walking, cycling and use of public transit.
Because of Gil’s unique blend of pragmatism and passion, his leadership and advice is sought out by many cities and organizations. As Executive Director of the Canadian non-profit organization 8-80 Cities for the past 8 years, Gil has worked in over 150 different cities in all continents.
As former Commissioner of Parks, Sport and Recreation for the City of Bogota, Colombia, Gil successfully led the design and development of over 200 parks of which Simon Bolivar, a 360 hectare park in the heart of the city, is the best known; here he created the Summer Festival, with over 100 events in 10 days and more than 3 million people attending, making it the main annual recreational and cultural event in the country. Gil’s team also initiated the “new Ciclovia”— a program that sees over 1 million people walk, run, skate and bike along 121 kilometers of Bogotá’s city roads every Sunday, and today it’s internationally recognized and emulated.
Gil also works as Urban Expert on Mobility and Citizen Engagement for the renowned Danish firm Gehl Architects. He serves on the Board of Directors of City Parks Alliance, USA, and is a Senior Advisor to StreetFilms in NYC, American Trails and America Walks. Gil holds an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, where he recently was selected as one of the “100 Most Inspirational Alumni” in the school’s history. Last year he received the Queen Elizabeth II - Diamond Jubilee Medal, given by the Governor General of Canada, and was named one of the “Top 10 Most Influential Hispanic – Canadians”. Lately Gil also contributed chapters to three books: Enabling Cycling Cities: Ingredients for Success – CIVITAS, Europe; Facilities for Cyclists – Copenhagen, Denmark; Resilient Sustainable Cities, Melbourne, Australia.
Read more about Gil Penalosa.