Growing Sustainable Communities - 10th Annual Conference - Dubuque, October 2017

Hosted by the City of Dubuque, Iowa and Sustainable City Network, the Growing Sustainable Communities Conference will be held at the Grand River Center located in the Port of Dubuque at 500 Bell Street (View Map). The 10th annual Conference is a two-day educational opportunity for public- and private-sector leaders who have a common interest in sustainability, resource management and social equity. The conference will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday Oct. 3 and 4, 2017.

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 a minimum of three years.

2017 Session Descriptions
(Download as a printable PDF)

Programming sessions subject to change without notice.

Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017

9:00 – 10:00 am
Coffee in Exhibit Hall
10:00 – 11:30 am
Workshop Session 1
  • The Changing Pace of Mobility in America
    Meeting Room 1
    Sponsored by: Global Traffic Technologies and WSP
    Presenters: Nancy Lyon-Stadler, WSP (PDF); Chad Mack, Global Traffic Technologies (PDF); and Mike Lockrem, Emily Braun, Laurie Carruthers & Shaun Lopez-Murphy, Brookings, S.D.(PDF)
    This session will include three presentations on topics related to sustainable transportation.

    Part 1: The City of Cleveland has developed a plan to put dedicated bike lanes down the middle of certain city streets, in much the same way that street cars were once incorporated into its transportation mix. The city's Midway Cycle Tracks is proposed to be an 80+ mile network of bike lanes separated from vehicular traffic with intersections controlled by stoplights. This presentation will provide details about the planning process, design specifications, and the latest results of the city's demonstration projects.

    Part 2: The City of Brookings, S.D., recently adopted a new Bicycle Master Plan, with the help of a large group of stakeholders that included students from South Dakota State University. Members of the project team will share methods used to reach out to both bicyclists and non-bicyclists, provide examples of how the plan was implemented in its first six months, and give ideas for how to build political support.

    Part 3: In recent years, priority control and traffic sensing technologies have helped make cities smarter by connecting vehicles to infrastructure. As the technologies have advanced, software has been developed to harness the abundance of data generated by these systems to provide analytical reports on where improvements have been or could be made. This presentation will feature case studies that explore how cities use intelligent transportation tools to change the way their communities move. Discussion topics include the new roles of public safety and transportation, how data generated from priority control systems is turned into useful insights to move public vehicles quicker and more efficiently, and how analytics can help to address future challenges associated with growing cities.
  • Fostering Growth in Affordable Housing
    Meeting Room 2
    Sponsored by: HousingNOLA and Sustainable City Network
    Presenters: Sally Martin, City of South Euclid, Ohio (PDF); Randy Cole, City of Columbia, Mo. (PDF); and Andreanecia Morris, HousingNOLA (PDF)
    This session will include three presentations on topics related to affordable housing.

    Part 1: New Orleans is facing an affordable housing crisis. In 2015, 56% of New Orleans' renters spent more than one third and 33% spent over half of their income on housing costs. To provide more affordable housing in the New Orleans area, HousingNOLA and the Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance (GNOHA) engaged Grounded Solutions Network to research whether an inclusionary housing policy could work in New Orleans and, if so, how to tailor such a policy to fit the city's unique needs and housing market. The Smart Housing Mix Study is the result of an eight-month effort to research and provide recommendations on how an inclusionary zoning policy can be effectively implemented in New Orleans. The study was by and large accepted by the City Planning Commission and is now being implemented into policy. Key takeaways from this presentation will be a greater understanding of affordable housing policy, specifically inclusionary zoning, and the methods used to design and advocate for the policy.

    Part 2: The Columbia Community Land Trust developed by the City of Columbia, Mo., demonstrates how cities can create a community land trust organization (CLT) to protect, preserve and steward local government investments in affordable housing and ensure the long-term affordable home ownership options for lower income households in perpetuity. This presentation will also show-case how sustainability can be woven into the development of affordable housing by incorporating public transportation and walkability, energy efficiency, solar production, stormwater and water quality improvements, upgrading of electrical and sanitary infrastructure, removal of invasive plant species, while improving social equity, public safety and neighborhood engagement.

    Part 3: The City of South Euclid, Ohio, is an inner-ring suburb of Cleveland with a population of 23,000. Over 20% of the city's housing stock has been in foreclosure since 2008, with over 1,000 homes becoming vacant. Turning this crisis into an opportunity, the city launched the South Euclid Green Neighborhoods Initiative in 2009 using federal and local grant funds. This innovative public-private partnership brought together designers from the Cleveland Institute of Art, residents, local builders, and city staff to reimagine the city's housing stock and neighborhoods by performing innovative green retrofits of bungalow housing stock, developing new, affordable, green in-fill housing, and creating community gardens and pocket parks in every neighborhood in the city. Eight years later, the city has seen more than $50 million in private residential investment, over $100 million in commercial investment, and housing values are steadily recovering. Attendees will learn techniques that can be used in any community.
  • Building Farms into Communities - Lessons from Illinois
    Meeting Room 3
    Sponsored by: Sustainable Dubuque and Crescent Electric Supply Co.
    Presenters: Suzan Erem, Sustainable Iowa Land Trust (PDF), Nathan Aaberg, Prairie Crossing (PDF), Janice Hill, Kane County, Ill. (PDF), & John Dewald, Serosun Farms (PDF)
    This presentation will include a panel discussion moderated by Suzan Erem of the Sustainable Iowa Land Trust (SILT) and featuring Serosun Farms (in Kane County, Ill.) and Prairie Crossing (in Lake County, Ill.).

    Developers and planners across the country are working together to build sustainable farms into housing developments. With a nonprofit land trust in the mix, developers can reap quick sales and high profits while also securing affordable, regional food production for generations to come with farms that can improve quality of water, air and life. Hear from a planner, a developer and a nonprofit farm manager about how they create and manage breathtaking communities that will also feed the future, and how we can apply those lessons to the rest of the Midwest and beyond.
  • Tools for Meeting Your Community's Tree Canopy Goals
    Meeting Room 5
    Sponsored by: University of Dubuque and WoodwardBizMedia
    Presenters: Ian Leahy, American Forests (PDF); Tim Porter & Amanda Byrum, City of Charlotte, N.C. (PDF); and Kristen Bousquet, Arbor Day Foundation (PDF)
    This session will include three presentations on topics related to trees.

    Part 1: Vibrant Cities Lab - Launching in summer, 2017, Vibrant Cities Lab is a new, highly visual, and free online resource developed by the U.S. Forest Service, National Association of Regional Councils and American Forests. This website is designed as a resource for professions and city managers impacted by urban trees but not necessarily focused on them. It tailors research syntheses and snapshot case studies to each of 11 professions, including city planning, education, public safety and economic development. It also includes an interactive toolkit to help city managers assess their current tree canopy status and follow a step-by-step process to build an effective urban forest program. The presentation will include a live demonstration that attendees can follow along with on their own devices.

    Part 2: Charlotte’s Tree Canopy Preservation Program - The City of Charlotte, N.C.'s Tree Canopy Preservation Program (TCPP) provides an example of how a rapidly developing municipality has used funds collected through a commercial development ordinance and developed partnerships with a local land trust and other agencies to engage in land conservation and work toward established tree canopy preservation goals. In 2011, Charlotte began requiring developers to either save trees on construction sites or pay into a Tree Ordinance Mitigation Fund. These collected funds are then used to acquire property for urban forest preservation through voluntary sales and to protect and steward the land through strategic partnerships. Property acquisition began in July 2014, and to date, TCPP has acquired over 140 acres and is projected to acquire 71 more, while actively seeking more acquisitions. Attendees will develop an understanding of how municipalities can fund land conservation through commercial development fees, establish partnerships with non-profits in sustainability projects, and accomplish complementary goals of urban forest canopy preservation and land conservation.

    Part 3: Arbor Day Foundation's Community Canopy Program - This presentation will explore how a tree distribution program can fit with an organization or community's sustainability efforts, engage with your audience and maximize the impact of the trees. Attendees will learn how a tree distribution to homeowners offers the ability to educate residents on strategic tree planting and promote green infrastructure, leading to community resilience through measured environmental benefits (such as air quality, stormwater management, carbon sequestration and energy efficiency). The results of your program are all quantified through meaningful data using a turnkey program that offers an innovative technology to assist with automated tree reservations, participant education, tree tracking, continued communication to the participants, and data/metrics showing the impact of trees planted.
  • Developing Green Infrastructure with Public/Private Partnerships
    Meeting Room 6
    Sponsored by: Hydro-ecology Services, N.A. and Cartegraph
    Presenters: Vanessa Fixmer-Oraiz, HBK Engineering, LLC (PDF); and John Duke, Hydroecology Services North America (PDF)
    This session will include two presentations on public green infrastructure projects that were completed with the help of private engineering companies.

    Part 1: Price Creek - Amana Colonies Water Quality Project - This project was awarded funding from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship's Water Quality Initiative and is co-sponsored by the Amana Historical Site Foundation and the Iowa County Soil and Water Conservation District. HBK assisted in planning and engineering a 10,000 square foot permeable paver parking area and bioswales. This site is unique because it is located within the Amana Colonies, an area listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the project was conceived to reflect the rural stormwater management practices that can be seen near the more urban site. Attendees will learn the importance of historic/rural partnerships as well as the stormwater education benefits that they can mutually serve. Additionally, the process included working with several state agencies, which were integral to creating such a dynamic opportunity and ultimate success.

    Part 2: Using GIS to Design Green Stormwater Infrastructure - Green stormwater infrastructure conceptual design can be done by non-engineer professionals using field assessments, public elevation data, and GIS tools. To retrofit our communities to handle stormwater more ecologically than what we did in the past takes some creativity. Showcasing several city government projects, this presentation will show how GIS can be used for more than just "map making."

  • Infusing Sustainability Projects with Equitable Outcomes
    Exhibition Hall
    Sponsored by: Suez and Sustainable Dubuque
    Presenters: Sarah Hobson, Community Allies, and students
    St. Louis Segregation Research Project - In this presentation, students will provide an overview of a 3-week Ethnodrama After School Program in which students generated personal research questions about multiple sources for segregation in St. Louis. Based in community interviews, their films capture the intersections between urban planning and its social and mental impact on St. Louis city and county residents. Students will model their 2016 school film festival by showing their films and inviting the audience to share their perspectives on the connections between urban planning and internalized segregation in St. Louis. They will demonstrate their competence in engaging adults in cross-cultural problem-solving. Drawing upon their research questions and their films, they will facilitate discussions about the kinds of smart growth practices their communities need and the power of youth-centered ethnodrama programs for involving youth and their communities in smart growth development.
11:35 am – 1:15 pm
Luncheon Keynote Address in the Grand Ballroom
Presenter: Majora Carter, urban revitalization strategist and Peabody Award winning broadcaster

Home(town) Security

Majora Carter is a leading urban revitalization strategy consultant, real estate developer, and Peabody Award winning broadcaster. She is responsible for the creation & implementation of numerous green-infrastructure projects, policies, and job training & placement systems. Ms. Carter co-founded the now 750+ member Bronx Tech Meetup, as well as the StartUpBox Software Services company which is rebuilding the entry level tech job pipeline by using market forces and established business practices to help diversify the U.S. tech sector.

Read more about Majora Carter.
1:30 – 2:45 pm
Workshop Session 2
  • Talking About Climate Change
    Meeting Room 1
    Sponsored by: Suez and WoodwardBizMedia
    Presenters: Barbara Buffaloe, Columbia, Mo., Office of Sustainability & Cori Burbach, City of Dubuque; and Abby Finis, Great Plains Institute & Larry Kraft, iMatter (PDF)
    This session will include two presentations on communicating about climate change.

    Part 1: Lessons from Columbia and Dubuque - This will be an informal discussion led by Barbara Buffaloe, Sustainability Manager in Columbia, MO and Cori Burbach, Sustainable Community Coordinator in Dubuque, about how they approach discussions on climate change with their communities in the current political climate. Barbara will highlight Columbia's experience with the Climate Choices program, created by the National Issues Forums Institute. Cori will provide tips on how to use your personal story to connect people on the topic of climate change. At the end of the session the presenters hope to have audience members leave with successful tools to host their own meaningful, productive deliberation with community members about difficult issues that affect the environment and communities.

    Part 2: St. Louis Park Climate Action Plan - iMatter is an organization driven by youth who are passionate about addressing climate change. iMatter youth were instrumental in pushing the City of St. Louis Park, Minn., to adopt a climate resolution that resulted in a climate action plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040. Key take-aways include: 1) the power of youth; 2) the importance of climate change being tackled at the community/city level; and 3) tools and resources that are available to set emissions reduction targets and achieve them.
  • Growth and Sustainability in Nashville, Tenn.
    Meeting Room 2
    Sponsored by: Big Wave Strategies, LLC and Sustainable City Network
    Presenters: Laurel Creech & Jennifer Westerholm, Metro Nashville Department of General Services (PDF); and Tim Bent, Big Wave Strategies, LLC (PDF)
    This session will feature two presentations on the sustainability programs of Nashville, Tenn.

    Part 1: Nashville is the "it" city - among the best rated for places to live, real estate appreciation, business climate, job opportunities, places to visit and even friendliness. It seems everyone is moving to Nashville – but with flourishing growth comes sustainability hindrances. Traffic and its emissions, stressed waste management systems, frenzied construction rates with neighborhood disruption, increasing energy and water demands, lack of affordable housing - the list of sustainability challenges is extensive. Learn how Nashville is not only coping amid this rampant change – but simultaneously committing to decouple its emissions from its growth trajectory. In this presentation, Tim Bent of Big Wave Strategies will share Nashville’s approach to sustainability data identification, gathering and management.

    Part 2: Managing over 100 buildings and 4 million square feet, a city fleet of more than 3,500 vehicles, and responsible for the design and construction of 21 LEED facilities, the city's Department of General Services has an interest in saving energy, reducing waste, and trimming costs. In this presentation, Laurel Creech and Jennifer Westerholm of Metro Nashville's Department of General Services will provide an overview of the city's "Socket, Unplug Nashville" campaign, a multimedia outreach effort that educates Metro employees and the general public about the city's sustainability initiatives while also teaching and inspiring sustainable practices at work and at home.
  • Changing the Road We're On
    Meeting Room 3
    Sponsored by: John Deere and NICC
    Presenters: Brian Willham, City of Des Moines (PDF); and Stephanie Houk Sheetz & Frank Darrah, City of Cedar Falls, Iowa (PDF)
    This session will include presentations on how two Iowa communities are transforming mobility .

    Part 1: Advancing Transportation Choices in Des Moines - This presentation will share the results of the Connect Downtown mobility study that the city is co-leading with the Greater Des Moines Partnership and the Iowa chapter of the Urban Land Institute. Related to the study, a pilot project will include converting 7 blocks of a downtown street into a multi-modal corridor that will include shorter pedestrian crossings, enhanced transit stops, protected bike lanes, and narrower/fewer traffic lanes to slow traffic and try to reverse the recent increase in injury crashes along the corridor. takeaways will include a good understanding of how such a study can happen and who the appropriate champions need to be, as well as lessons learned from the pilot project.

    Part 2: Cedar Falls Highway Transformation Project - University Avenue, a former Iowa DOT six-lane, divided highway, once served as the only major highway between Cedar Falls and Waterloo, Iowa. It was an auto-centric principal arterial through the middle of the community. Ownership of this severely deteriorated roadway was transferred to the city of Cedar Falls in 2014. The priorities for a new corridor design included a safe design for all forms of traffic, a road diet, safe pedestrian and mass transit links, and landscaping. The presentation will describe the transfer of jurisdiction from state to city; adoption of smart growth and complete streets principles by the city council; and the development of an evaluation process to identify "sustainability outcomes" for the project.
  • Building a Better Mouse Trap with Innovative Outreach and Education
    Meeting Room 5
    Sponsored by: Dubuque Bank and Trust and Sustainable Dubuque
    Presenters: Dana D'Souza, Econservation Institute (PDF)
    Community Based Social Marketing (CBSM) uses tools such as prompts, social norms, and incentives to encourage target audiences to "purchase" certain behaviors. Unlike traditional marketing, CBSM does not sell a good but instead sells a behavior. This presentation provides best practices in setting up CBSM design and measurement to provide reliable information on program performance. It walks attendees through the "hows and whys" of conducting this type of marketing, and provides information on the practical aspects of designing and implementing a CBSM program.
  • Innovations in Community Engagement
    Meeting Room 6
    Sponsored by: Tri-State BizTimes and Sustainable City Network
    Presenters: Matthew Bernstine, Washington University in St. Louis (PDF); and Linda Shenk, Iowa State University & Mallory Riesberg, Boys & Girls Club of Central Iowa (PDF)
    This session will introduce attendees to two fascinating community engagement case studies:

    Part 1: The Listening Project in St. Louis - Community engagement processes often miss the richness and diversity of the place and instead capture concerned thoughts from a small portion of neighborhood residents. Often those are the vocal or time-rich citizens. This presentation will highlight a framework and examples that gathered robust data and meaningful narratives from multiple perspectives within two City of St. Louis neighborhoods. The Listening Project is a tool that was developed to gain insight and feedback on what residents would like to see prioritized in improvement, financial investment, and care within their neighborhood from a representative sample of residents that reflected the diversity of the area. Attendees will learn about techniques to elicit qualitative information from diverse perspectives and what to do with that data once it is collected. They'll also hear how to engage in a community process that successfully integrates multiple disciplines, including design, social work, and public health.

    Part 2: "Community Growers" Program for Youth in Des Moines - As civic leaders increasingly seek to harness the power of "big data" platforms to create more sustainable, equitable communities, a community-university team of researchers and civic leaders in Des Moines is working to integrate these technologies into city decision-making, while fostering the next generation of big data scientists and sustainable city planners. This presentation will share a facet of this partnership: a "Community Growers" program for a leadership-minded group of middle school youth in the Baker Chapter of the Boys & Girls Club of Central Iowa. In the programming (begun in March 2017), the youth learn about, and help generate, computer story maps using GIS technology, introducing them to visioning processes, data analytics platforms and agent-based modeling as they shape and conduct an action project in their local community garden. Then they share their work with Des Moines city leaders and local residents. The presentation will share specifics of the program as well as the City of Des Moines' involvement — a multi-faceted partnership that brings together current and future decision-makers to help co-create data-driven, vibrant sustainable cities.
  • Increasing Markets for Locally Produced Foods
    Exhibition Hall
    Sponsored by: Sustainable Dubuque and Crescent Electric Supply Co.
    Presenters: Teresa Wiemerslage, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach & Georgia Windhorst, Iowa Food Hub (PDF)
    In 2016, the Iowa Food Hub and ISU Extension received funding from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture to use the Iowa Food Hub staff, infrastructure and sales platform to test the concept of a food hub node in the Dubuque region to increase markets for locally produced food. The final results of that research will be presented.
2:45 – 3:15 pm
Browse Exhibitor Booths
Join us in the Exhibition Hall for refreshments, networking and exhibitor demos.
3:15 – 4:15 pm
Workshop Session 3
  • Planning, Measuring and Training on Sustainability and Resilience
    Meeting Room 1
    Sponsored by: Suez and TrueNorth Companies
    Presenters: Eric Holthaus, City of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, & Barbara Buffaloe, City of Columbia, Mo.; and Carrie Kashar, Broward County, Fla. (PDF)
    In this session, we take a close look at some of the tools and metrics three communities in Iowa, Missouri and Florida are using to set local goals, measure progress, and improve their communities.

    Part 1: Columbia, Mo., was certified under the STAR Community Rating System in the fall of 2016 and is using the certification results to identify areas for improvement that should be included in the city’s Strategic Plan. Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is working towards STAR certification with a goal of using the certification process and results to serve as a framework and inform the creation of the city’s new Sustainability Plan. Learn how the process is used to evaluate sustainability efforts and inform city planning and policymaking.

    Part 2: Broward County Florida, also a STAR-certified community, developed the Climate Change Toolbox Training (CCTB) program in 2016. The program helps county staff construct a sustainable future by integrating a balance of community, environment, and economy into decision-making processes. The Broward County Environmental Planning and Community Resilience Division launched the CCTB program to provide a resource for county staff, and to foster employee understanding and advance skills on the environmental challenges faced by the region. The CCTB is an ongoing educational program aspiring to reach at least 20% of the county’s workforce by 2020.
  • Creative Placemaking to Enhance Quality of Life
    Meeting Room 2
    Sponsored by: Shive Hattery and Sustainable City Network
    Presenters: Sharon Yazowski, Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation
    This session will explore the concept of placemaking: an approach to urban planning intended to create public spaces that promote health, happiness and well being.

    Across the globe, communities of all sizes have adopted “creative placemaking” as a strategy to spark economic growth, drive community engagement and enhance overall quality of life. Defined as the integration of arts and culture into public spaces, creative placemaking takes many forms, from mural projects to public art storefronts to street markets. This session will explore how free outdoor concerts in particular can inject new economic and social vitality into a public space and create a positive ripple effect that extends throughout a neighborhood or city.
  • Red County & Blue City Come Together to Develop Climate Resilience Strategy
    Meeting Room 3
    Sponsored by: Tri-State BizTimes and Sustainable Dubuque
    Presenters: Jasmin Moore, Johnson County, Kans. & Dennis Murphey, City of Kansas City, Mo. (PDF)
    The two largest local governments in the Kansas City metro area, one progressive, one conservative, partnered with a local non-profit and the council of governments to develop a climate resilience strategy. Using climate projections tailored to their region, they engaged numerous stakeholders to identify key risks of climate change and collaboration opportunities to improve resilience. Audience takeaways include: how to work across the aisle, available climate resilience tools, how to integrate equity into climate resilience, and how to leverage existing resources and programs to advance climate resilience.
  • How Regulations Shaped a University's Green Infrastructure Plan
    Meeting Room 5
    Sponsored by: Sustainable City Network
    Presenters: Dave Wolmutt, SmithGroupJJR & Gary Brown, University of Wisconsin-Madison (PDF)
    The University of Wisconsin-Madison is an ever densifying urban campus, as well as the largest single landowner on Lake Mendota in Madison, Wis. Over the years, the university has made a significant investment toward improving and maintaining the health of the lakes within the Yahara Watershed, both through academic contributions and also by implementing over 80 individual sustainable stormwater projects throughout its 1,040-acre campus. This presentation will provide details of the UW-Madison Green Infrastructure Master Plan, which identifies green infrastructure opportunities on campus for the next 30+ years and district-wide practices intended to capture runoff from multiple sites and go beyond the individual site-based BMPs that are typically built. It also identifies a number of major streets on campus that will be converted to green streets, in cooperation with the City of Madison, and it proposes more aggressive policies and standards to help achieve certain stormwater metrics related to suspended solids and total phosphorus reductions. You'll also learn how changing state and federal regulations impact how municipalities plan for the future and influence the need for green infrastructure.
  • Innovations in Affordable Housing
    Meeting Room 6
    Sponsored by: Tri-State BizTimes
    Presenters: Eric Hempel & Randall Cole, City of Columbia, Mo. (PDF); and Kevin Carroll, City of Minneapolis (PDF)
    This session will describe two extraordinary affordable housing projects in the Midwest.

    Part 1: This presentation will describe the City of Columbia's pilot program to address the "split incentive" in rental housing for the low- to moderate-income community. Called "Enhance your Attic," the program focuses on low-cost, high-impact attic insulation and takes advantage of existing rebate programs at the municipal utility, city staff and Section 8 rental properties. takeaways include program design specifics, funding sources, strategic partnerships, and the leveraging of existing programs.

    Part 2: The City of Minneapolis will soon be the home of the first multifamily "Passive House" development in the Upper Midwest. The Hook & Ladder Apartments project will create 115 units of affordable multifamily workforce housing on a blighted former industrial site located in the heart of the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District. This presentation will provide information on the sustainability and “land recycling” aspects of the project and the extraordinary "Passive House" elements of the construction.
  • Converting to LED Streetlights in Anchorage, Alaska
    Exhibition Hall
    Sponsored by: Crescent Electric Supply Co.
    Presenters: Gary A. Agron, Anchorage Municipal Light & Power, and Mark Wilbur, GE Wireless Control Systems (PDF)
    This presentation will be an overview of a project to replace 4,000 streetlights with LED fixtures and solid-state controls that allow system monitoring from mobile applications. Return on investment from an energy and maintenance saving perspective will be presented.
4:15 – 5:45 pm
Networking Reception

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. 4, 2017

7:30 – 8:30 am
Registration & Breakfast in Exhibition Hall
8:45 – 9:30 am
Morning Plenary in the Grand Ballroom
Presenter: Kristin Baja, climate resilience officer for the Urban Sustainability Directors Network

Kristin Baja is serving as the Urban Sustainability Directors Network's first Climate Resilience Officer. In this role, she is responsible for helping cities identify strategic ways to advance climate resilience planning and implementation, and building their capacity to take action. She spends the majority of her time supporting cities and facilitating deeper relationships between local governments and other stakeholders in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Read more about Kristin Baja.
9:45 – 10:45 am
Workshop Session 4
  • How to Prevent and Kill Development: On Purpose and by Accident
    Meeting Room 2
    Sponsored by: Sustainable Dubuque
    Presenters: Jeff Geerts, Iowa Economic Development Authority & Jim Thompson, Main Street Iowa (PDF)
    This session will share approaches and lessons learned on attracting development in your community with an emphasis on downtown development and redevelopment. Audience takeaways will include examples of downtown development models from other states; how to make your community enticing to developers; an opportunity to provide input into a possible Iowa "Development Ready Community" program; model policies and incentives to promote downtown and infill development; and identification of the main components of the "Art of the Deal."
  • Sustainable Transportation with Alternative Fuel Vehicles
    Meeting Room 3
    Sponsored by: Unison Solutions and Sustainable City Network
    Presenters: Stephanie Weisenbach, Iowa Clean Cities Coalition & Christina Vander Zee, Alliant Energy (PDF); and Jon Koch, City of Muscatine, Iowa (PDF)
    This session will include two presentations on the topic of reducing emissions by powering vehicles with something other than gasoline.

    Part 1: Electric vehicles (EVs) can help communities meet emissions targets, improve public health and reduce operating expenses, so it benefits civic leaders to find ways to implement public EV charging infrastructure and reward EV drivers. Additionally, using EVs in fleet applications can help further integrate them throughout the community. Hear about local initiatives in Iowa and Wisconsin.

    Part 2: Fueling fleets with compressed natural gas (CNG) is another way to reduce emissions and save money. MARRVE (Muscatine Area Resource Recovery for Vehicles & Energy) is a project that takes waste organics (packaged and scrap food) headed for the landfill and diverts it to anaerobic digesters to produce methane. The methane is then converted to CNG to fuel city vehicles and other private fleets. This is the start of a waste organic recycling program for industry, businesses and residents.
  • Sustainability Tools and Frameworks
    Meeting Room 5
    Sponsored by: HDR, Inc. and Tri-State BizTimes
    Presenters: Marcella Thompson, HDR, & Lindsay Motl, Alliant Energy (PDF); and Eric Hall, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (PDF)
    This session will describe two methodologies developed to help decision makers manage and measure the sustainability of development projects.

    Part 1: The Envision rating system for sustainable infrastructure is a planning and design guidance tool that defines industry-wide sustainability metrics for all infrastructure types, in any geography. During this presentation, you’ll learn about several of Alliant Energy’s power generation projects that have applied Envision, including Iowa's first Envision-verified project, Marshalltown Generating Station.

    Part 2: The Multi-Sector Sustainability Browser (MSSB) is the first decision support tool containing web links to scientific literature, news articles and technical reports. The MSSB is a visual database, allowing the user to investigate one or more of the four key sustainability areas - land use, buildings/infrastructure, transportation and materials management, to explore the available scientific literature references and to assess the potential impact of sustainability activities on desired decision outcomes. A case study will demonstrate how a community with minimal expertise in planning and developing sustainable land use projects can use the MSSB.
  • Building a Comprehensive Approach to Community Energy Use
    Meeting Room 6
    Sponsored by: Conlon Construction Co. and Shive Hattery
    Presenters: Ashley Craft, Green Iowa AmeriCorps & Eric Giddens, University of Northern Iowa's Center for Energy & Environmental Education (PDF)
    The University of Northern Iowa's Center for Energy & Environmental Education (CEEE) staff will present the different ways the center is facilitating comprehensive energy conservation services for Iowa communities. The presentation will share how the center works with city governments to create climate action plans and what boots-on-the-ground services are available to address a community's various priorities, including residential energy efficiency services and school-based sustainability initiatives.
  • Parks and Habitat Restoration in Iowa
    Exhibition Hall
    Sponsored by: Sustainable Dubuque
    Presenters: Angela Jordan & Dan Hagan, ITC Midwest (PDF)
    This presentation will review the benefits that communities can realize when they partner with private companies to promote community sustainability activities. It will feature a variety of sustainability and habitat development projects that ITC Midwest, an independent electricity transmission company, assisted with in Dubuque and other eastern Iowa communities.
10:45 – 11:15 am
Browse Exhibitor Booths
Join us in the Exhibition Hall for refreshments, networking and exhibitor demos.
11:15 am – 12:15 pm
Workshop Session 5
  • Climate Change as a Driver for Urban Innovation
    Meeting Room 1
    Sponsored by: Ramboll and Sustainable City Network
    Presenters: Mette Lassesen, Ramboll (PDF)
    This session will dive deep into Danish ideas and solutions we might consider importing to U.S. cities, despite our very different regulatory environment. Mette Lassesen of Ramboll will introduce Denmark's fundamental value of planning for the common and collective good, and will share how the oil market and two back-to-back severe weather events drove this small nation to become a leader on the resiliency front. The session will touch upon the plans of the capital city of Copenhagen to become the first carbon neutral city in the world by 2025. Topics will include stormwater management and designing with water, transportation planning, wind energy and district heating and cooling, as well as social resiliency.
  • Building Livable Communities for People of All Ages
    Meeting Room 2
    Sponsored by: Shive Hattery and Tri-State BizTimes
    Presenters: Kent Sovern & John Peterson, AARP Iowa; and Alexandra Cummins, Village of New Lebanon, Ohio (PDF)
    Almost everyone wants to live in a safe place, have a good job, raise a family, get around easily and engage with their community. This session will include two presentations on practical ways to foster livability in communities of any size.

    Part 1: What We Are Hearing From Local Officials About "Where We Live." – The presenters will highlight the newest editions of AARP Livable Communities publications that include more than 200 initiatives mayors launched to improve their communities, respond to pressing issues and build partnerships. They will also share the results of the 108-city survey, Preparing for Aging Populations in America's Cities: A Status Report on Aging in America, revealing issues that local officials see as the most important assets for their older residents.

    Part 2: The Village of New Lebanon, Ohio, launched its "Create a New Lebanon" campaign in 2014, bringing together more than 500 volunteers to create a community garden, deliver vegetables to older adults or individuals in extra need, pick up trash, paint over graffiti, weed, plant flowers and revamp empty spaces each year. Through the creation of a Parks & Recreation department the village has been able to introduce after-school programs, summer camps, high school internship opportunities, and free community events, which include a farmers market, summer & fall festival, and adult recreational activities. This simple yet powerful framework is adaptable to small towns that are facing similar challenges.
  • Power Partnerships: Building Your Solar Network
    Meeting Room 3
    Sponsored by: Sustainable City Network
    Presenters: Logan Welch, Van Meter; and Jim Pullen, Eagle Point Solar (PDF)
    This session will explore the considerations involved with planning and implementing solar energy projects.

    Part 1: Most communities struggle with where to start on their path to a community solar project or a more sustainable community. A member of Van Meter's Renewable Energy Team will highlight topics including solar basics, solar myths, commercial solar case studies, and solar system design.

    Part 2: This part of the presentation will examine a case study of a 4-year-old solar project at the Galena, Ill., Waste Water Treatment Plant. The economics of solar and solar financing will be covered.
  • Watershed Management & Stormwater BMPs
    Meeting Room 5
    Sponsored by: Shive-Hattery and Suez
    Presenters: Kasey Hutchinson, Shive-Hattery (PDF); and Sandy Pumphrey, City of Cedar Rapids, Iowa (PDF)
    This session will update attendees on best management practices (BMPs) related to stormwater.

    Part 1: Stormwater BMPs provide a sustainable alternative to traditional stormwater management, preventing and mitigating the issues that are a direct result of collecting, transporting and discharging stormwater runoff into local waterways as quickly as possible. Decreasing pollutant loads, flood and erosion reduction and habitat protection can all be achieved through the infiltration of stormwater that BMPs provide. Stormwater BMP case studies will be presented with one of the main takeaways being that recognition and careful consideration of secondary benefits during the planning of these practices can facilitate their leverage for any given project. Engaging, educating and satisfying stakeholders lends to public support of alternative and sustainable, stormwater management.

    Part 2: Since the epic flood of 2008, a major focus of the City of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has been partnering with other political entities and landowners in key watersheds. This presentation will showcase three watersheds of significantly different scales and characteristics, elaborating on how the city is influencing stormwater management to reduce flooding, improve water quality and increase resilience.
  • Equity, Art and Community Food Systems
    Meeting Room 6
    Sponsored by: Sustainable Dubuque
    Presenters: Nan Fey, City of Madison, Wis. (PDF); and Helen Schnoes, Douglas County, Kans. & Connie Fitzpatrick, Sunrise Project (PDF)
    This session will include case studies of two community food systems that make equity a central part of their framework.

    Part 1: Madison, Wis., Gardens Network - The City of Madison’s formal support for community gardens dates back to the 1990s and includes the Gardens Network. The city has an established Food Policy Council to bring together groups in the community to advance food system issues. This policy-making body is incorporating community gardens into a larger discussion of urban agriculture, and working to include appropriate goals and actions of the city’s 20-year comprehensive plan. The City has recently adopted a Racial Equity & Social Justice framework and tools for analyzing its operations, policy and budget decisions through an equity lens; this process will also be used to determine an appropriate location for a community garden in the coming months. A case study on Brittingham Park, situated downtown between a traditional single-family neighborhood and a multi-family area with a high density of immigrant and lower income families will be presented.

    Part 2: Douglas County, Kans., and Sunrise Project - This presentation will provide the rationale behind a year-long initiative to employ a health equity lens and move beyond traditional shortcomings in public engagement and planning processes. Building upon frameworks popularized by PolicyLink, the presenters will walk the audience through the process of hiring, training, and collaborating with a cohort of "Community Coordinators," a group of seven local residents hired by Sunrise Project to collect stories and participate in the creation of a countywide Food System Plan.
  • Biogas: Converting Organic Waste into Energy and Fuel
    Exhibition Hall
    Sponsored by: Bartlett & West and Tri-State BizTimes
    Presenters: Steven Sell, BIOFerm Energy Systems (PDF); Phil Gates, Bartlett & West (PDF)
    This session will include two presentations on converting biogas into valuable products.

    Part 1: Upgrading Landfill Gas to RNG - Biogas from landfills has traditionally been flared or combusted in a combined heat and power unit (CHP) to produce heat and electricity. But several recent trends in the marketplace are making the gas even more valuable when upgraded to renewable natural gas (RNG) for vehicle fuel. Steven Sell from BIOFerm Energy Systems will explain these market dynamics and provide a case study.

    Part 2: Biogas Facility Needs 101 - Phil Gates of the engineering firm Bartlett & West will describe the primary gas purification options, their cost differences and revenue potential, and how generators can take advantage of several types of credits and carbon offsets.
12:20 – 2:00 pm
Luncheon Keynote Address in the Grand Ballroom
Presenter: Louie Psihoyos, Oscar winning documentary filmmaker and executive director of the Oceanic Preservation Society

Louie Psihoyos is widely regarded as one of the world's most prominent still photographers. He has circled the globe dozens of times for National Geographic and has shot hundreds of covers for other magazines. His first documentary film, "The Cove," has won more than 100 awards globally from festivals and critics, became the first documentary in history to sweep all the film guilds and won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature in 2009.

Read more about Louie Psihoyos.
2:00 – 2:30 pm
Browse Exhibitor Booths
Join us in the Exhibition Hall for networking and exhibitor demos.
2:30 – 4:00 pm
Workshop Session 6
  • Newly Added Session: Advancing Racial Equity: The Role of Government
    Meeting Room 1
    Presenters: Gordon F. Goodwin, Center for Social Inclusion (PDF)
    This workshop provides an introduction to the role, responsibilities and opportunities for government to advance racial equity. We focus on normalizing racial equity as a core value with clear definitions of key terminology, implicit and explicit bias, and discerning the difference among individual, institutional and structural racism.
  • Small Towns and Sustainability
    Meeting Room 2
    Sponsored by: Cartegraph and Sustainable City Network
    Presenters: Chad Nabity & Keith Marvin, Hall County (Neb.) Regional Planning Department (PDF)
    The STaR Division of the American Planning Association has been looking to define the concept of sustainability and how it impacts small towns and rural communities. The purpose of this session is to discuss what sustainability means for smaller communities and counties as opposed to just the larger metropolitan cities. The session will be a true facilitated discussion with minimal presentation and maximum input. The attendees will help define what sustainability is for their jurisdictions and other small communities.
  • Here Comes the Sun - Solar Energy Surges in the Midwest
    Meeting Room 3
    Sponsored by: Red Lion Renewables and SunPeak
    Presenters: Nick Hylla, Midwest Renewable Energy Association (PDF); Dave Sinner, Alliant Energy (PDF); and Terry Dvorak, Red Lion Renewables (PDF)
    This session will include three presentations on topics related to solar energy.

    Part 1: The Midwest Renewable Energy Association provides a roadmap for municipalities and nonprofit organizations as they proceed through the path towards solar PV investment. This presentation will highlight the steps involved; project scoping, site assessment, financial feasibility analysis, procurement, construction, and performance monitoring. In addition, the MREA will highlight numerous tools and resources it has developed and can provide. Solar PV development offers many synergies for community economic development, workforce development, and attainment of sustainability goals. The MREA helps communities seeking technical and financial assistance, training programs for workforce development, and assistance to communities seeking to update their planning, permitting and zoning ordinances.

    Part 2: The Alliant Energy Solar Demonstration Project was launched during the summer of 2015 as part of EPRI’s Integrated Grid Pilot Projects. Alliant Energy and EPRI will evaluate the impact of solar photovoltaic (PV), battery storage, and electric vehicle charging station technologies at Alliant Energy’s Madison, Wis., headquarters. This multi-year initiative will allow Alliant Energy, its customers and project collaborators to learn about the many ways solar and renewables can be used in an upper Midwestern setting. It will study a number of different types of technologies in a northern climate and will serve as a learning laboratory with a focus on research, safety, education and collaboration. This presentation will elaborate on the project's status and what's been learned so far.

    Part 3:Red Lion Renewables will expel some of the myths and misinformation that often circulates about solar energy. This presentation will provide a reality check on finance options and how going solar impacts electrical costs for cities, schools, and churches using examples from the city of Lisbon and St John the Apostle Catholic Church solar projects; both financed through Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). You will learn what can and cannot be achieved with solar as well as the limitations and nuances of financing solar projects. And you will learn what questions to ask solar contractors to know whether they understand the realities of solar. Whether you are investigating PPAs and leases for your government or non-profit agency or looking for solar on your home, farm, or business, this forum will help you answer those questions and navigate the pitfalls so you can go solar with a realistic expectation of what solar can and cannot do for you.
  • Using Brownfields Redevelopment for a Community-wide Trails Network
    Meeting Room 5
    Sponsored by: Sustainable City Network
    Presenters: Ed Hubert, Olsson Associates (PDF); and Maurice Jones, City of Dubuque (PDF)
    The City of Coffeyville, located in Montgomery County in southeast Kansas, received a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Brownfields Assessment grant, and in 2015 was awarded an EPA Brownfields Clean-Up grant to remediate metals contamination along a former AT&SF railroad line in the heart of the city, near a closed Sherwin-Williams paint manufacturing plant. High concentrations of metals, particularly lead, zinc, and cadmium, were detected in the former rail line in the 1990s and the area has been fenced off and closed to public access since that time. The city has developed a Master Plan which envisions a community-wide network of pedestrian and bike trails, connecting various city parks, schools, the downtown area, and other public amenities. Significant public interest has been generated in Coffeyville over the proposed trail network, and the site provides a perfect example of the goals and smooth working of the Brownfields program – using federal seed money, combined in this case with state funding, to convert an unusable, unsightly property into a useful public amenity – and in the process, spurring additional economic development activity in the surrounding community. This presentation will walk the audience through this fascinating case study.

    The City of Dubuque's brownfield redevelopment program will also be discussed.
  • America's Watershed Initiative
    Meeting Room 6
    Sponsored by: Sustainable Dubuque
    Presenters: Harald (Jordy) Jordahl, The Nature Conservancy, and Teri Goodmann, City of Dubuque (PDF)
    America's Watershed Initiative is a collaboration among business, government, basin associations, academic and civic organizations seeking to improve the economic and environmental outcomes in the 31-state Mississippi River Watershed. Harald (Jordy) Jordahl, Director of America's Watershed Initiative (AWI) will lead a discussion of private sector partners who are working together to craft meaningful improvements in the social, economic and environmental sustainability of the Mississippi River and its major tributaries. The demands on the Mississippi River watershed are growing due to increasing demands for water and productivity, crumbling infrastructure, habitat loss and the expansion of the hypoxic ‘dead zone’ in the Gulf of Mexico. With the input and participation of more than 400 organizations, businesses and agencies, AWI released Report Card on the Mississippi River Watershed in 2015. This Report Card gave the watershed a grade of D+ on a series of 19 specific indicators measuring social, economic and environmental goals for the watershed. But finding solutions to these challenges is even tougher because the watershed includes parts of 31 states and thousands of local governments and agencies. Any improvements to America’s watershed will require different groups and users – both private and public – to work together. The presentation will share the story of the collective action to build a shared vision for the watershed using common measures in the Report Card and the need to collaborate with leaders in the watershed and nationally to raise the grade for the long-term sustainability of the Mississippi River watershed.
2:30 – 4:00 pm
Mobile Tours
  • Mobile Tour 1 - Trolley Tour of the Bee Branch Watershed Project
    (SOLD OUT)
    Sponsored by: State Revolving Fund/Iowa Department of Natural Resources and IIW
    The Bee Branch Watershed flood mitigation and water quality project is reintroducing the confined Bee Branch Creek to one of Dubuque's oldest neighborhoods where hundreds of families and businesses have been repeatedly impacted by flooding. The watershed-wide approach will protect the neighborhood from stormwater events while creating a linear park, revived habitat, and educational venue for the entire community. Building on years of infrastructure improvements, Dubuque is now a subgrantee in the State of Iowa's successful HUD National Disaster Resilience Competition grant application. The City was recently awarded $31.5 million to repair and "flood proof" homes while investing additional funds in stormwater infrastructure.
  • Mobile Tour 2 - Walking Tour of the Dubuque Millworks District.
    Sponsored by: Cartegraph
    Over one million square feet of vacant or underutilized historic warehouse space is being transformed into urban, mixed-use development in Dubuque’s Historic Millwork District. Based on a Master Plan created by public and private sector partners, the District is attracting entrepreneurs, designers, residents, institutions, and businesses to a sustainable neighborhood located in the heart of downtown Dubuque. The execution of the plan involves capitalizing on the embodied energy of historic buildings, creating unique commercial and office spaces that are recruiting entrepreneurs, intentionally integrating the arts and non-profit community, and creating unique upper-story housing. This walking tour will include discussions of green infrastructure, visits inside the various warehouse spaces, and conversations with City staff, developers, and partners.
  • Mobile Tour 3 - Biking Tour of Downtown Dubuque (SOLD OUT)
    Dubuque’s Washington Neighborhood is one of its oldest and most diverse neighborhoods, and home to some of the city’s most historic housing stock. Revitalization efforts led by the public and private sector, as well as neighborhood residents, have been underway since 2005. Join this biking tour to learn more about the neighborhood’s many assets and initiatives, including community gardens, parks investments, neighborhood art projects, Crescent Community Health Center, and Steeple Square. Also hear about the public-private partnerships that are rehabilitating historic housing stock and providing opportunities for renters and homeowners. (Please note bicycles will be provided for all riders by the Dubuque Bike Coop. Helmets are not required in Iowa; however, attendees are encouraged to bring their own helmet as they will not be provided. This tour will occur in flat neighborhoods and is suitable for all biking abilities.)



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