Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

A Strategic Vision for Regional Economic Resiliency Fall 2010.

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "A Strategic Vision for Regional Economic Resiliency Fall 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Strategic Vision for Regional Economic Resiliency Fall 2010

2 Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, odio bibendum, et wisi arcu non, suspendisse donec nullam ipsum urna, augue lacus phasellus fames et eget, iaculis pharetra id aliquam. Mack Pearsall Chairman, ABSCI Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, odio bibendum, et wisi arcu non, suspendisse donec nullam ipsum urna, augue lacus phasellus fames et eget, iaculis pharetra id aliquam. Jim Fox Executive Director, NEMAC/ RENCI ABSCI Steering Committee Mack PearsallChairman, ABSCI Michael LeaheyABSCI Robin CapeABSCI Bob MelvilleABSCI Maggie UllmanCity of Asheville Yuri KoslenCity of Asheville Stephanie MonsonCity of Asheville Gordon SmithAsheville City Council Holly JonesBuncombe Commissioner Brad EllingtonBuncombe County Jon CreightonBuncombe County Ron TownleyLand of Sky Regional Council Jim FoxRENCI / NEMAC Bob WagnerCommunity Foundation WNC Margo FloodWarren Wilson College Dee EggersUNC-Asheville J. Nelson WeaverHealth Partners Chris JoyellAsheville Design Center Matt RakerAdvantage West Dan LeroyAsheville GO Matt SiegelWNC Green Building Council John StevensBRSI George BriggsNC Arboretum Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, odio bibendum, et wisi arcu non, suspendisse donec nullam ipsum urna, augue lacus phasellus fames et eget, iaculis pharetra id aliquam. Bob Wagner Program Director, CFWNC

3 ustainability: Introduction & Overview rends: Where We Have Been ssessment: Where We Are ecommendations: Where We Want To Be Taking Asheville to the Next Level1 A Vision for the Asheville Region2 Key Principles3 Overview of the Asheville Region4 Asheville Hub Sustainable Community Initiative5 Reading, Riding & Retrofit6 STAR Overview7 Community Indicators8 The SCI Hub Indicator Project9 Greenhouse Gas Emissions10 Local Assets & Risks11 Local Master Plans12 Strategic Framework13 Recommended Strategies14-18 Conclusions & Next Steps19-20

4 Sustainability Taking the Asheville Region to the Next Level Asheville-Buncombe Sustainable Community InitiativeSustainability Trends, Actions and Recommendations (STAR) Fall 2010Page 1 Quality of Life 1950 1976 1993 2008 2010 2030 and beyond The renaissance begins… Community development and job growth… Economic and ecological stress… Business as usual STAR “As a planner and developer, my approach to building a (community) is similar to any other large project. You must understand your market, design it accordingly, organize your team, find the money and get it built, all the while, making it beautiful, safe and energy efficient as possible. “ Chuck Tessier, Tessier & Assoicates “Communities, like companies, come to inflection points where the fundamentals of a business or local economy change and they either make the hard decisions to invest in the down cycle and take a more promising trajectory, or do nothing, and wither. “ Andy Grove, CEO Intel “We have an economy that tells us it is cheaper to destroy earth in real time rather than renew, restore, and sustain it. You can print money to bail out a bank but you can’t print life to bail out a planet.” Paul Hawken, entrepreneur, environmental activist and author The Asheville region of Western North Carolina is recognized as one of the best places in the nation to live, vacation, and retire. Due in part to its progressive reputation and abundant natural resources, many perceive that the region has embraced “sustainable development”: the simultaneous improvement of social, economic, and environmental well- being. In reality, the region faces massive internal and external challenges, including population growth and its impact on natural resources; economic decline arising from shifting economic drivers, ‘turf-ism’ or ‘silos’ that impede collaboration between community leaders; and preparation for the potential challenges of the future. STAR measures the existing strengths and weaknesses of the region and offers a set of recommendations that were synthesized by input from more than 50 local leaders and community meetings. These recommendations focus on strategies for creating and retaining jobs and for maintaining and enhancing the quality of life of this region. At the core of these strategies is a recognition of the importance of a collaborative leadership system to support decision makers in leveraging their own organizational strategies and goals with those of others, expanding and including those who have not been traditionally “at the table.”

5 Sustainability A Vision of the Asheville Region Asheville-Buncombe Sustainable Community InitiativeSustainability Trends, Actions and Recommendations (STAR) Fall 2010Page 2 Conserve and support neighborhoods and communities The key to our area’s economic competitiveness lies in building strong, livable communities. This region has a variety of desirable neighborhoods, communities, towns, and cities where people live, work and play. Conserving the individual assets of those distinct areas while supporting quality of life enhancements to them, creates strong and resilient hubs of community as the building blocks of our region. Strong neighborhoods and communities provide further positive economic benefits to the region by reducing public infrastructure and service delivery costs, maximizing the value of these important investments. Increasing the energy efficiency in home and buildings and encouraging more affordable housing within these areas strengthens the work force which in terms supports business and economic development.. Creating whole neighborhoods with opportunities to shop, work, and play, where you live, allows people to spend less time driving more time enjoying the high quality of life their neighborhood has to offer. Where people To attract and keep our neighborhoods strong, they need to be connected throughout the region with a diverse range of transportation options. Citizens spend 20% less time commuting to work, and our homes consume 30% less energy, resulting in a 25% reduction in our carbon footprint. Building codes are greener and infrastructure investments are supported. Rural areas realize the benefits without having to become as dense as urban areas. Relentless focus on creativity, innovation, and knowledge Even as we consume less, the economy continues to improve the quality of life of our citizens. It is now anchored on fulfilling local needs and enhancing local quality of life. Tourists continue to flock here because the quality of life is so good. Artists, alternative health practitioners, and environmentalists are supported by the community that benefits from their presence in the form of resources, planning, and living space. The top strategies identified to re-invigorate our community, economy, and environment Photo by Zen Sutherland Increased local food and energy economy Our cities and urban areas alike produce more of the food, energy, and products that we need to live and experience a high quality of life. We produce 10% of the food we consume (and growing) and 20% of the energy that we use (and increasing). Our farming heritage and resources for clean energy technologies exist side by side. Markets are filled with fresh local food – year round..

6 What is a Sustainable Community? A community that values and stewards its natural resources A community that promotes culture, equity, and diversity A community whose economy exists in harmony with its environment and it’s culture Sustainability Key Principles Asheville-Buncombe Sustainable Community InitiativeSustainability Trends, Actions and Recommendations (STAR) Fall 2010Page 3 Our strategy is built on certain core principles: –Let the city be the city and the country be the county –All of our decisions are based on common values –Think globally, assess regionally, act locally –Take a long-term perspective (Cherokee seven-generation concept) –Everything is inter-related – take a systems approach –Intellectual honesty: what are our strengths and weaknesses? STAR is regional and a local plan to create jobs and improve quality of life through innovative policy and programs. Sustainable Community Transport-ation HousingFood Energy Thriving Economy Culture, Equity & Diversity Strengths –Thriving artistic culture –Unique and diverse ecology –Farming and forest product tradition –Global center of climate data and visualization Weaknesses –Limited financial resources for capital and philanthropy –Lack of good jobs combined with high cost of living –Difficulty collaborating across jurisdictions and “silos” –Steep slopes challenge infrastructure and agriculture Opportunities –Federal funding for ‘Sustainable Communities’ –Massive innovation in digital media –Evolving consciousness around buying local goods and services –Existing best practice models for sustainable development Threats –Extended global financial recession –Catastrophic climate change: droughts, floods, heat –Potential for rising food/ energy prices –Influx of in-migrants from other regions stress resources

7 Asheville-Buncombe Sustainable Community InitiativeSustainability Trends, Actions and Recommendations (STAR) Fall 2010Page 4 The Asheville Metro area covers four western North Carolina Mountain Counties (Buncombe, Madison, Henderson and Haywood). The population is 404,320 with over half that in Buncombe County. Local governments belonging to the region are Buncombe, Haywood and Henderson Counties; the Cities of Asheville and Hendersonville; and the Towns of Biltmore Forest, Black Mountain, Canton, Clyde, Flat Rock, Fletcher, Laurel Park, Maggie Valley, Mills River, Montreat, Waynesville, Weaverville, and Woodfin. In comparison to the nation as a whole, the region is more educated, less ethnically diverse, poorer with a higher proportion of renters, and has a higher proportion of older residents. Population 2000 - 2020 28% US Census Projections (2008 Data) 1. Community Profile for Asheville Metro Region. Prepared by RENCI@UNC Sustainability The Asheville Metro Region Unemployment 2002-2009 Asheville Chamber of Commerce The region is expected to add 45,000 more residents over the next ten years, with the vast majority of this growth falling outside the City. (This is the same amount of people that the region added from 1980 to 2000, in half the time). The growth in population is fueled by the region’s ubiquitous ratings near the top of lists of “coolest”, “best place to retire”, “best place to vacation,” and other national lists. The downside of this great reputation fueling a growing population is an economic malaise different from many parts of the county. While unemployment has surged here, as everywhere, we face a greater problem of ‘under-employment.’ The economy is driven by healthcare and tourism. Outside of these professions, there are little opportunities for mid-career professionals and young families. They say that Asheville’s economy is fine “as long as you’ve already made your money or don’t care if you ever do.” In addition to economic stress, the environment has come under increasing pressure, as seen by worsening water quality, unhealthy ecosystems, and disappearing forestlands.

8 Asheville-Buncombe Sustainable Community InitiativeSustainability Trends, Actions and Recommendations (STAR) Fall 2010Page 5 Since 2004, the Asheville Hub, a partnership of private, public, institutional and nonprofit leaders, has advocated for collaborate leadership and innovation-driven economic development. The Hub’s philosophy is built around leveraging our region’s unique assets – our “sense of place”, creative class, natural, human, and intellectual capital. Hub members include representatives of local government, including the Mayor of Asheville and the Chair of the Buncombe Commissioners, leaders of the Chamber of Commerce, local universities, major employers, philanthropists, and community developers. A monthly meeting provides a forum to network, share ideas, and explore best practices. The Hub has donated, invested, volunteered, and leveraged over $1.5 million in the support of a diverse array of development activities, including: –The Center for Environmental and Climactic Interaction –The Media Arts Project –The Applied Visualization Lab –Hatchfest –Meet the Geeks –The Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine –Green Mondays Sustainable development was not among the initial focus points of the Hub. However in 2008 a group of members, recognizing the paradigm-changing potential of sustainability, began to craft a development strategy based on the fusion of the environment and economics. The Asheville-Buncombe Sustainable Community Initiative (ABSCI) was born. ABSCI is a 501c3 ‘think-and-do’ tank, whose mission is to improve quality of life through innovative, sustainable economic development. Its programs include: 1.Hub Indicator Project (HIP) –Quality of life indicators 2.STAR – Regional sustainability assessment and plan 3.Green Science Lab – Sustainable decision making tools 4.Reading, Riding & Retrofit (RRR) – Sustainability in Schools While ABSCI has had initial success, great challenges lie ahead. The remainder of this report highlights the need for an unprecedented level of collaboration and effective decision making – no small feat in a challenging financial environment. While there are costs to facilitating collaboration, the much greater cost is that of in-action. Sustainability The Hub Sustainable Community Initiative ABSCI’s mission is to improve quality of life through sustainable economic development.

9 To implement energy efficiency retrofits in school buildings, the Land- of-Sky Council coordinates energy efficiency training workshops with facilities, maintenance, and custodial staff. The council directs sub- grants to school retrofits that meet cost-effectiveness, GHG reduction, and energy use reduction criteria. At the same time, transportation planning staff works with schools to identify transportation energy efficiency improvements. The project also will institutionalize sustainable policies to ensure that schools use more recycled and renewable products, that new appliances meet energy efficiency guidelines, and that lunch programs include a greater share of locally-grown foods. Green Teams composed of students, teachers, parents, and custodial staff provide support, education, and outreach for the Reading, Riding, and Retrofit project. These teams will conduct projects such as school- wide recycling competitions, student-organized energy audits, commuter challenges, community gardens, composting programs, or environmental art contests. Reading, Riding & Retrofit is a ‘best practice’ of sustainable community development. The purpose of this report is to catalyze additional innovative projects, to provide a system to track their Recommendations over time, and help leaders make better decisions. The ABSCI and the Land-of-Sky Regional Planning Council developed Reading, Riding, and Retrofit, a collaborative program that provides city and county school systems with tools to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, conserve energy, and reduce operational costs while educating students and the community. Asheville-Buncombe Sustainable Community InitiativeSustainability Trends, Actions and Recommendations (STAR) Fall 2010Page 6 Sustainability Reading, Riding & Retrofit

10 Recommend Strategic Action Assessment (Plans, Assets, Risks, Orgs) Trends (Community Indicators) Defining Sustainability Implement & Monitor In 2009 ABSCI initiated a sustainability plan. A cross-sector partnership of local leaders provided data, ideas, and best practices to assess the state of sustainability in the region and to recommend solutions. The result of this multi-year process is STAR (Sustainability, Trends, Actions & Recommendations). More than a report or an isolated plan destined to “sit on the shelf,” STAR uses a number of tools, including a community indicator project, a review of a recent city and county ‘master plans’ and related initiatives, and interviews with dozens of local leaders, decision makers, and citizens, to assess current local sustainability. These assessment tools are synthesized into a comprehensive model that will allow us to create a regional sustainable development action plan that addresses our risks and builds upon our assets, and a plan for putting these recommendations in to action. Asheville-Buncombe Sustainable Community InitiativeSustainability Trends, Actions and Recommendations (STAR) Fall 2010Page 7 Sustainability STAR Overview Process 2007-0820092009-10Fall 20102011 Ongoing

11 Across the nation and around the world, communities are assessing well-being through community indicators of quality of life. Community indicators are like gauges on a dashboard, each of which tells the driver something different about how the vehicle is driving. The standard gauge used by our society is economic activity. However, the goal of a community is not to simply increase its economic activity, but to increase the quality of life and well-being of its citizens. Indicator initiatives seek to measures all of the components of quality of life, including social, cultural, environmental, and economic well- being. These measures, when studied as a system of interrelated factors, allow community leaders and citizens alike to make better decisions. Indicators show trends, allow comparisons, and spark debate. Alone, they will not solve our region’s problems or help us take advantage of opportunities. We must use them to further engage the community: setting goals, reviewing bright ideas, debating public policy, and ultimately taking pragmatic action. Asheville Chamber of Commerce Monthly report on demographic and economic trends and analysis NEMAC at UNC-Asheville Dozens of indicators and data visualizations of the health of local forests and ecoystems Buncombe County Health Department A 2010 report summarizing data, assets, and practices that increase community health Asheville-Buncombe Hub A quality of life report that draws 16 indicators to capture a snapshot of quality of life in the community Asheville-Buncombe Sustainable Community InitiativeSustainability Trends, Actions and Recommendations (STAR) Fall 2010Page 8 Trends Community Indicators

12 Drawing from another ABSCI report, the Hub Indicator Project (HIP), we were able to analyze four major determinants of quality of life (social, economic, natural, and built environment), and to review four variables within each, for a total of sixteen indicators. While this is less than many similar community indicator projects, we feel that having a smaller number makes the report easier to understand, less costly to maintain, and creates the same amount of value as a larger project. Data was gathered from trusted sources of information, such as the Department of Commerce, the EPA, NC DENR, and the Renaissance Computing Initiative. Each indicator was scored Green, Red, or Yellow depending on whether its long-term trend was positive, neutral, or negative. The eight indicators that pertain to natural or built environment are displayed here. For the full sixteen indicators, see the Hub Indicator Project. The Recommendations are mixed. The region has enough water for the foreseeable future, though stream quality rates have fallen. Air quality is largely neutral, though new EPA standards will be harder to meet. We are consuming more energy and driving more each year, contributing to climate change. Development is increasing and the number of farms are falling. Overall, our built and natural environment is not in dire straits, but development will continue to challenge our ecosystems. Asheville-Buncombe Sustainable Community InitiativeSustainability Trends, Actions and Recommendations (STAR) Trends Hub Indicator Project # Farms Stream Quality Index # Waste and Recycling % % Land Use Water Consumption Vehicle Miles Traveled Air Quality Index Energy Consumption Page 9 Data from RENCI-CharlotteData from NC DOT Data from UNC AshevilleData from City of Asheville Data from EPAData from Progress Energy Data from NC DENRData from US Census

13 Components of a Climate Plan: 1.Identify sources and amounts of greenhouse gas emissions 2.Engage community in plan to reduce emissions 3.Create strategies to stimulate economic development from reduction plan 4.Plan for climate adaptation City Sustainability Management Plan The City of Asheville has taken the proactive approach of crafting a community vision for a future for Asheville that is based on sustainability. A Sustainability Vision and Guiding Principles statement was developed based on facilitated discussion with the City’s Office of Sustainability, Department Directors, the City’s Sustainability Advisory Committee on Energy and Environment (SACEE), as well as information from the City Council’s 2008-2009 Strategic Plan. In addition, a definition of sustainability was tailored for the City of Asheville. A consensus-based definition of sustainability and key sustainability principles provide the underlying foundation for the Plan and constitute a vision for Asheville’s future. Warren Wilson Climate Action Plan In November 2007 WWC commissioned a Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions Task Force to develop a Climate Action Plan (CAP). A cross-sector group of administrators, faculty, staff, students and volunteers, along with a science advisor– an IPCC scientist based at Asheville’s National Climatic Data Center – worked together to develop the CAP. It is now in its 4 th year. Although every goal and strategy has been fully vetted and appears to be viable and sound, progress will be monitored quarterly, and the plan will be amended as needed in order to ensure a dynamic, affordable, and effective approach to meet short-term goals and eventually achieve carbon neutrality. Asheville-Buncombe Sustainable Community InitiativeSustainability Trends, Actions and Results (STAR) Fall 2010Page 10 Trends Greenhouse Gas Emissions

14 Assessment Local Sustainability Assets & Risks Asheville-Buncombe Sustainable Community InitiativeSustainability Trends, Actions and Recommendations (STAR) Fall 2010Page 11 Due to the generally progressive nature of Asheville’s residents and the natural beauty of the region, many people assume that Asheville is a world-class example of sustainable development. In fact, while recent years have seen a number of successful sustainability initiatives, we generally rank far behind trend-setting cities of roughly similar size, such as Boulder, CO, Santa Cruz, CA and Eugene, OR. Below is a summary assessment of the various elements that comprise ‘sustainability’: Energy Budding clean energy economy built around solar and efficiency City and Warren Wilson pioneering carbon footprint reduction plans ×Mimimal local energy production despite abundant wind resources ×High carbon footprint due to coal- based electricity source Housing Growing number of LEED certified and Healthy Built Homes Code becoming sustainable (density and affordability bonus) בGreen’ housing still much more expensive and harder to find ×Lack of financing to ease upfront burden for efficiency/ renewables Transportation Regional transportation plan includes multi-modal, trains, climate impacts New public revenue source for bus line improvements ×Transportation “pinch points” into region vulnerable to land slides ×Increasing vehicle miles as more rural residents commute into Buncombe Agriculture Surge in attendance at farmer’s markets and CSAs Strong farming heritage and cultural support for farmers ×Limited arable land for massive food cultivation ×Decreasing number of farms and farmers Natural Resources Decrease in number of poor air quality days New regulations to protect steep slopes, stream quality ×Water quality degraded in recent years despite long-term improvement ×Ecosystems threatened by invasive species, wildfires, drought Land Use Increasing acceptance of smart growth/ new urbanism principles New GIS tools allow deeper understanding of green infrastructure Many residents resistant to further important zoning regulations Rate of land development exceeds ability to provide services

15 Of particular interest to many community stakeholders is a review of local ‘master plans’. The Asheville region has no shortage of talented planners, and a large number of citizens active in planning and policy issues. In 2009 the City Manager analyzed just the city’s outstanding plans and noted over $200 million in unfunded (and unprioritized) recommendations. We took this analysis one step further, reviewing twelve of these plans in terms of its author, who the report was written for, what data and maps were collected, whether the plan ‘spoke’ to other related plans, and common themes addressed throughout each. The Master Plans reviewed included those seen in the image to the right. The diagram illustrates that these plans, despite their individual excellence, fail to build upon one another and leverage common data, making it difficult to prioritize action items and funding opportunities. A number of observations emerged from this process: –The majority of plans cover transportation related issues –Most plans failed to reference other plans –Little analysis of natural resource /energy use were performed –Quality of life / sustainability were not typically addressed –Economic development issues were not typically addressed –The majority of plans did engage citizens and citizen groups –The majority of plans were short term in focus –‘Action items’ often not specific, measurable, or actionable Opportunities exist to better integrate the plans, saving time and money; incorporate environmental and economic issues; and make better recommendations. Further analysis needs to be performed to verify the total outstanding dollar amount of open recommendations and link them to potential funding sources. Asheville-Buncombe Sustainable Community InitiativeSustainability Trends, Actions and Recommendations (STAR) Fall 2010Page 12 Assessment Local Master Plans A number of common themes emerged from our review of the plans: –Collaborate with County to set 80% carbon footprint reduction by 2050 –Provide options to allow residents to invest in renewable and efficiency –Special village districts: walkable, mixed use, compact, sense of place –Build eco-neighborhoods –Integrated regional approach vs. silo/piecemeal approach –Connectivity with bike/ pedestrian/ greenway transit –Local bond referendum to finance infrastructure investment –Transit corridor overlay districts that encourage affordable housing by providing incentives for mixed-use, high-density, infill development –Need for coordinated promotion and marketing of agricultural products and services, along with education and training programs for farmers

16 REGIONAL LOCAL POLICIESPOLICIES PROGRAMSPROGRAMS CORE: Radical Collaboration Green Infrastructure Localized Economy Neighborhood Resilience Creative Economy Asheville-Buncombe Sustainable Community InitiativeSustainability Trends, Actions and Recommendations (STAR) Fall 2010Page 13 Recommendations Strategic Vision We have defined sustainability in the context of the Asheville region; reviewed strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats; analyzed trends; identified best practices; and studied local planning efforts. Our conclusion: The best way to mitigate our biggest risks (economic and built environment) are to leverage our greatest assets: community and natural environment. To tie it all together, we developed a model for sustainable community development. This model incorporates business- oriented and policy oriented actions with a regional and local perspective. It ties together various concepts that support sustainability: self sufficiency, resiliency, livability, innovation, and collaboration. This isn’t just a theory … we have listed specific actions drawn from the input of over 50 local leaders and a review of over 25 national sustainability plans.

17 Asheville-Buncombe Sustainable Community InitiativeSustainability Trends, Actions and Recommendations (STAR) Recommended Strategy #1 Green Smart Growth Infrastructure Page 14 The first and most timely strategy addresses our recent un-sustainable development of land and housing, exemplified by increasing commute times and polluted streams, by utilizing some of our under-used assets: access to credit, receptivity to progressive policy, and underemployed construction workers. This is a regional, policy-oriented solution, though its effects are certainly felt locally, and businesses and nonprofits stand to benefit. The solution is to embrace the principles of Smart Growth. To make it more than just a buzzword, regional leaders must come together to assess the priority of our infrastructure needs, linking capital projects to economic development. To do the job right, we recommend that our region look to the example of Boulder, CO and Eugene, OR, each of whom took on over $100M in Build America Bonds to finance their green infrastructure needs. While recommending debt in this political environment will be a challenge, the fact is that it is an investment, not an expense, and it will create immediate economic and environmental benefits. From Smart Growth America What are the best practices that we can implement in our region? –Transit-oriented design is the creation of mixed-use residential and commercial areas intended to maximize access to public transporation. As 60% of the working force of the surrounding counties commutes to Asheville (UNC study), this would be a popular rural strategy –Oakland and Denver have incorporated affordable, green housing with their transit nodes, creating an extra social/ ecological benefit –Green the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO)! The City of Asheville’s Sustainability Advisory Committee is working on this, but we need the whole region involved. The Urban Land Institute’s Sustainable Code is a potential model –Bring back passenger rail! Plans are in the works but moving too slowly. Until that time, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems provide the benefits of transit with dedicated, direct bus serve in rural areas –Integrate the greenway, bikeway, and recreation plans across the region into a unified whole with prioritized projects and shared resources. Portland’s Green Belt is a potential model –Asset mapping allows citizens and groups to better understand our infrastructure and its needs. Land of Sky Regional Council’s Green Infrastructure program is a national best practice and a good start

18 Asheville-Buncombe Sustainable Community InitiativeSustainability Trends, Actions and Recommendations (STAR) Recommended Strategy #2 Localize the (Food and Energy) Economy Page 15 Locally and throughout the nation, we’ve seen a loss of farms and farmland during the preceding decades. Our economic system rewards bigger operations and economies of scale, making life challenging for small farms – and forcing us to rely on imports for 99% of the $1.5 billion worth of food we consume in WNC (according to the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project). It doesn’t make sense for our independently-spirited region to be so reliant on others. What happens to us if global commodity prices spike and the food trucks stop rolling in to town? While we lack the arable land necessary to grow all of our food, setting a modest goal of 5% food self- sufficiency by 2015 would bring an additional $218 million into the region along with 1,500 (per ABSCI analysis). What can we do to make this happen? –Utilizing empty rooftop space for hydroponic greenhouses (Brooklyn) –City incentives for greenroofs (“cash for grass”) and rain catchment –More community gardens in low income neighborhoods (Pisgah View) –FoodHub – “the for locavores” connects farmers to eaters –‘Transfer of Development Rights’ (TDR) helps farmers preserve land –Bloomington, IN regional food self-sufficiency plan –School gardens – RRR program ‘Green Teams’ & permaculture projects –Local government “lead by example” purchase of more local food –Incentives for farmers to use biochar to fertilize and remove carbon –Milwaukee’s Community Food Center and Philadelphia’s Small Plot Intensive Farming enable large production in small spacesCommunity Food Center Small Plot Intensive Farming Energy is another “commodity” whose production we take for granted. Similar to food, however, it’s a resource whose absence, due to global price spikes resulting from climate or economic disasters and the onset of Peak Oil, would decimate our fragile economy. Alternatively, the creation of an efficient and renewable energy infrastructure achieves crucial co-benefits including greater self-sufficiency, lower carbon emissions, and primes a new growth engine for the economy. Currently, almost 50% of our energy production comes from coal, the largest contributor to climate change, and a resource which loses almost 80% of it’s energy content during combustion and transmission. (Much of the remainder comes from nuclear). Less than 1% of our energy is produced renewably from local wind, sun, and geothermal resources. What can we do to fix the situation? –Community Choice Energy allows citizens to pool their purchasing power to buy clean energy (Bay Area, Portland)Community Choice Energy –Portland also developed a strategic plan for a renewable energy cluster –Boulder, CO invested $100M in innovative ‘smart grid’ techologies –NC mandates 12.5% renewable/ efficiency target for utilities by 2020, which lags significantly behind California and Oregon, who target 50% –Germany incentivizes renewable production with feed-in tariff rates –Austin, TX Green Bank provides revolving loan funds for residents –Energy Best Practice Compendium is an extensive report on cutting- edge ideas in state and local renewables and efficiencyEnergy Best Practice Compendium –Green local codes to facilitate wind turbines and solar installations

19 Asheville-Buncombe Sustainable Community InitiativeSustainability Trends, Actions and Recommendations (STAR) Recommended Strategy #3 Support the Creative Class and Innovation Economy Page 16 Knowledge is the form of economic development with the lowest carbon footprint… % Creative Employment The Creative Class and the Knowledge Economy Asheville, character, authenticity, and distinctiveness have become key ingredients for our new economy. The future rests in the aggregation of qualities that distinguish it from a dozen other cities of similar size. Creating and enhancing this essential character is becoming the new facet of economic development. (HUB Plan) While economic self-sufficiency is a necessary goal, the lowest carbon- footprint development possible is in the knowledge economy. Asheville must invest in its own capacities as a center for innovation and creativity. We must be “Unique and open enough to be who you are; wired enough to collaborate with anyone anywhere; bubbling with scientific and artistic innovation and creativity; focused on innovation as ‘commercially applied creativity’; and committed to the development of place-based jobs.” What existing community efforts can we support and help collaborate? –Asheville Arts Council is developing a new presence and strategy to provide grants, business support, and innovative programmingAsheville Arts Council –Arts2People is creating an artists’ resource centerArts2People –A new performing arts center will enhance our arts-destination brand –River Arts District redevelopment (led by the City) builds art into development plans, and provides studio space for artists Yet we are actually under- represented in the arts economy compared to NC City of 1,000 Easels (Sept ‘10) Elumenati’s GeoDome at RENCI-UNCA Creativity and Sustainable Development In the Asheville region we have a wealth of creative assets: a renowned artist’s scene, leading digital media talents, filmmakers, and world-class visualization expertise. Combined with the presence of NCDC, the largest databank of environmental data in the world, we have a potent recipe for building an economic cluster around creative ways to use, visualize, and interact with climate data. Organizations like RENCI, Elumenati, and the Media Arts Project have already made an impact. To be a true cluster, however, we need to grow businesses that supply to, or are supplied by, existing organizations. The presence of the NCDC Cooperative Institute for Climate Services will bring 50 scientists and several million dollars worth of impact to the area. If we think creatively we may be able to fill the gaps in the value chain and create new companies based on these advantages:ElumenatiMedia Arts Project –Serious Games are videogames that allows players to tackle real world issues such as health epidemics and climate changeSerious Games –Attract/ grow companies based on our health and climate data sets –Attract/ grow companies targeting the exploding ‘app’ market. –Involve artists in efforts such as the design of community indicators and regional asset mapping –Design products and services that ‘nudge’ citizens behaviorsnudge –What other kinds of ideas can we HATCH?HATCH

20 Asheville-Buncombe Sustainable Community InitiativeSustainability Trends, Actions and Recommendations (STAR) Recommended Strategy #4 Build (Neighborhood and Village) Local Resilience Page 17 “How do we define our villages? What makes each of them unique? What connects them? What separates them? Is Asheville one village, or rather a union of villages combined by necessity? Are our greenways that are working, or have energy around them, tied to our villages (the answer is yes). Are our villages connected by a range of transportation options? How many of our villages are NOT on transportation corridors? And if they aren't, are they really villages?”- Jim Fox, RENCI-UNCA Even if political dynamics prevented us from achieving a comprehensive regional strategy (see Strategy #5), an opportunity exists to develop local-area village and neighborhood plans. Why do this? At a micro-level, issues are no longer abstract (global carbon levels impacting the weather, national deflation impacting the economy, etc.). They are in-your-face, clearly shared, and common. If citizens cannot rely on our increasingly gridlocked federal government and increasingly cash-strapped state and local government, we must learn to become more resilient. While challenging, there is the possibility that this new neighbor-reliance (versus relying on the global economy to supply our needs) will actually increase social capital, tie community bonds, and yield higher quality of life in and of itself. Community resilience is a community’s ability to withstand and recover from hard times. Even in the case of a widespread emergency, residents can meet their basic needs including food, water, energy, transportation, housing, and economic and social services. ( Community Resilience Toolkit) Community Resilience Toolkit We recommend facilitating local resilience with greater support from local government. A grant and low/no interest loan fund invested in grassroots neighborhood and village projects would be inexpensive, create tremendous goodwill (if few actual jobs), increase volunteerism and sense of belonging, and perhaps have measurable impact on local sustainability indicators. In Portland, OR the entirety of the city is covered by neighborhoods featuring empowered community associations. We recommend taking this one step further and plugging these associations into a regional collaboration framework, giving ordinary citizens the chance to sit alongside elected officials and give voice to underserved communities. Some examples of local neighborhood best practices include: –The Asheville Design Center/ WNC Alliance Blueprints program has created neighborhood plans for Burton Street and others –The YWCA’s Pioneering Healthy Communities initiative is prioritizing the built environment and neighborhood resilience Urban village map from Asheville 2025 Sustainability Alliance of the Mountains (2008)

21 Asheville-Buncombe Sustainable Community Initiative Prototype community collaboration Asset Map by ABSCI Recommended Strategy #5 Radical Collaboration Page 18 An example of Indicators mixed with Scenario Planning from Marin County “Leadership models in use today are the result of top-down, bureaucratic paradigms, which are no longer effective for today’s knowledge based economy.” (Mary Uhl-Bien, ‘Complexity Leadership Theory). To succeed, regional leaders must avoid two common traps: fragmentation (when individuals pursue their own agenda disconnected from a regional strategy) and insularity (when leaders pursue old development strategies without acknowledging emerging realities). Overcoming political jurisdictions is a challenge, as development is usually practiced “one county at a time.” (Economic Development Agency). It is also challenging to bring diverse coalitions together, and to reach out to communities who normally do not the power to make decisions. A new way of collaborating and engaging is required that “aligns, links and leverages assets to pursue new market opportunities.” Strategies are needed for both the interaction between established decision making entities (local government, business and nonprofit leaders, institutions, and state and federal agencies), as well as in outreach to the community. We recommend the formation of a regional sustainability council, meeting on a bi-monthly basis (following the lead of NC Triangle Region’s Council). Led by an elected director with the support of paid staff and facilitated by professionals, this council is not another ‘meet-and-greet’ opportunity, but a mechanism for enhancing democracy, collaboration, innovation, and resource sharing. Elements of this collaborative process include: –Involvement of neighborhood/ village associations –Cutting edge decision science processes –Group consent procedures to set goals for indicators –Collaborative asset map tools –Regional greenhouse gas inventory/ reduction plans –Scenario plans that yield prioritized and transparent decisions Collaboration isn’t easy, and many local groups have tried it. But this time we have to get it right. Time is running out… we have the tools and the talent… and there’s lots of work to do. Sustainability Trends, Actions and Recommendations (STAR)

22 Recommendations Conclusions and Next Steps Asheville-Buncombe Sustainable Community InitiativeSustainability Trends, Actions and Recommendations (STAR) Fall 2010Page 19 The Asheville region faces a dual threat that undermines the ability of our citizens to achieve greater well-being: long-term economic recession and increasing stress on our built and natural environment. The solution we propose is for the region’s citizens and leadership to embrace our bold vision – some might say audacious – that we can not only survive, but thrive, by investing in our greatest assets: our resilience, self sufficiency, livability, and our creativity. It’s time to put an end to our ‘business as usual’ practice of private organizations going it alone, unable to collaborate, and of government acting unilaterally, unable to reach out. STAR recommends that the region adopt a hub-and-spoke model of local organizations and citizens who address issues of importance to their neighborhoods and communities, who then come together to assess regional issues and partner for regional solutions. In this way we allow each community to chart its own unique course, while providing resources for those times that we need to work together as a region. While the efforts of volunteers and retirees are commendable, volunteer effort alone will not take us all the way. As any business leader knows, when you offer a “product” that people want, a recession is the best time to invest. With interest rates at historical lows, what better time to invest in our community. We propose a $150 million Build America Bond to finance the initiatives outlined in this report. These funds are necessary to improve our infrastructure, to kick start the local food and energy economies, and to provide resources to the citizens, artists, and other grass- roots organizations who make life here so rich, but typically don’t get a chance to share in the wealth. The following page lists the specific action items, potential partners, timelines, and funding requirements. This is the start - not the end - of a community dialogue about our common values and the way we can improve our quality of life. The ABSCI has a wealth of information on public policies, programs and best practices that can help interested parties take on major initiatives. An artist’s “mind map” of a community engagement session June 2010 Sustainable Community Transport- ation HousingFood Energy Thriving Economy Culture, Equity & Diversity

23 Asheville-Buncombe Sustainable Community InitiativeSustainability Trends, Actions and Recommendations (STAR) Fall 2010Page 20 Action Plan StrategyActionTimeframePartnersBudget Goal 1: Build a regional green infrastructure Smart GrowthaCommunity Foundation bLand of Sky c Infrastructure Buildouta b c Goal 2: Develop a regionalized economy Local FoodaASAP bTransition Town c Local Energya b c Goal 3: Neighborhood Resilience EcoDistrictsaAsheville Design Center b c StorytellingaBuncombe Health b c Goal 4: Grassroots economic development CreativeaAsheville Arts Council bArts2People cMAP/ Hatchfest Alternative healthaComp/Alt Health Inst. bMission Hospital c


Download ppt "A Strategic Vision for Regional Economic Resiliency Fall 2010."

Similar presentations

Ads by Google