Yesterday, MPC hosted a Roundtable attended by an over-capacity crowd of 95 on the topic: “The Great Communities Collaborative: Adapting a New Model for Sustainable Place-Based Investment.” The event was keynoted by Shelley Poticha, HUD’s Senior Advisor for Sustainable Housing and Community Development, who shared her first-hand experience with the Great Communities Collaborative in San Francisco. Nonprofit and philanthropic organizations in the Bay Area are merging their resources with government entities to locate new housing developments near transit. The event, generously sponsored by S.B. Friedman & Co., also featured a panel of local experts, who discussed similar innovations taking root in the Chicago region.
Our next Forum on Wednesday, May 12, "Choosing our Water Future" is co-sponsored by MPC and Openlands, and generously sponsored by Harris Bank. It will be a great opportunity for policy leaders and decision makers to rethink our region’s water management tools and strategies and make conservation a top priority. If you’re on the fence about attending, here are two compelling reasons: nationally renowned water expert Robert Glennon, author of Unquenchable: America’s Water Crisis and What To Do About It, and Laurent Auguste – President and CEO, Veolia Water North America and Board Member, Milwaukee 7 Water Council, will be featured.
One link of the week takes us to Portland, where the city’s fast-growing population has found common ground between an environmental and an urban oasis. Many there say “the biggest force in local politics is not a party (Democrats in effect rule without opposition) but cyclists” – which explains why they have a state-of-the-art biking system. In Portland, those who can’t bike are encouraged to use public transport, which is free downtown. Sam Adams, the city’s mayor, says their biking metropolis is “totally replicable.”
In November 2009, Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Senator Max Baucus (D–Mon) introduced legislation (S. 2747) that would provide $900 million a year to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a program created in 1965 to protect America’s most important natural areas. The Obama administration and the public are committed to this goal. The president is proposing a 29 percent increase in the federal budget for 2011 and a recent poll shows 75 percent of voters believe we can continue to protect the environment while strengthening the economy. The Nature Conservancy has recently launched a campaign encouraging the public to demand funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The campaign’s goal is to let the public know how “overdevelopment, climate change, and pollution threaten our natural world and our own health now more than ever.” Adequate resources for the Land and Water Conservation Fund would help spur more local innovation and conservation of clean water supplies, spark new jobs and local economies, and ensure all can enjoy the great outdoors
We literally cannot afford to stall on innovation and conservation. MPC’s website at www.metroplanning.org is packed with examples from the tri-state Chicagoland region -- just imagine what more we could do with supportive national and state policies!