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Portland State University’s Urban Sustainability Accelerator Announces First Class of Cities

Portland State University’s Urban Sustainability Accelerator, which helps mid-size to small urban areas implement sustainability projects, has selected its first “class” of areas from around the country to participate in the Accelerator program. The inaugural 2013-14 accelerator class will include the cities of Waco, Texas; Wichita, Kan.; Portland, Maine; Louisville, Ky.; El Paso, Texas; and the Sacramento Council of Governments and member cities Elk Grove and Rancho Cordova, Calif.

Teams from participating cities will travel to Portland in July for a three-day workshop where experts in sustainable urban development, green building and green transportation will help them start shaping the initiatives and projects they want to work on over the next year. The program encourages public-private partnerships to foster faster implementation of the developed programs. Cross-sector input will prove the most beneficial for the communities involved, and the accelerator believes that the speed of the implementation of initiatives is only helped by collaboration between the private and nonprofit sectors and community groups.

The eight local governments selected for the program will be able to take advantage of several benefits, centered around a year’s worth of advice from those with sustainability expertise. The Accelerator consists of a mix of factors that make it unique including a hard focus on implementation, an emphasis on peer-to-peer advising, strategic advice to complement technical advice for implementation and more.

The experts specialize in providing technical assistance and strategic advice in the following areas:

  • Creating active transportation networks.
  • Creating multi-modal and mixed use corridors.
  • Rail transit development and transit-facilitated development.
  • Integration of land use and transportation planning at the project and system level in order to promote sustainable communities and reduce climate-changing pollution.
  • Building green infrastructure and constructing green buildings, including LEED certified low-income housing
  • Urban redevelopment, residential and commercial infill and revitalization.
  • Waste reduction (recycling, food composting, public, private, formal and informal materials re-use programs, latex paint recycling).
  • Reduction or elimination of combined sewer overflows (separating storm water and sanitary sewer systems through large-scale and small scale investments and incentives).
  • Regional natural areas protection.
  • Improving consistency between land use goals and individual land use decisions meant to implement those goals.
  • Techniques for curbing urban sprawl, including urban growth boundaries and rural conservation zoning and how to address associated fairness issues.

To learn more about Portland State University’s Urban Sustainability Accelerator, click here.

For the orignal story in the Portland Tribune, click here

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