DUBUQUE, Iowa – The sustainability of modern culture has its roots in local communities, but plays out across the nation and around the world. Dubuque’s fifth annual Growing Sustainable Communities Conference will feature keynote speakers who bring all these perspectives to the table.
The conference, intended for leaders in local government and business, will be held at the Grand River Center Oct. 2 and 3 with more than 20 educational workshops related to sustainability in water, energy, transportation and community knowledge & engagement.
Registration is now open at http://gscdubuque.com. Discounted pricing is available through Aug. 15.
After a day of pre-conference workshops and mobile tours, accomplished actor and national arts advocate Bill O’Brien will address conference attendees at a networking reception on Oct. 2.
Currently the senior advisor for program innovation at the National Endowment for the Arts, O'Brien has performed on professional stages in 48 states and has appeared in numerous television productions, including Law and Order: Criminal Intent and in an ensemble role on all seven seasons of The West Wing, as Kenny (Marlee Matlin's voice/interpreter).
Now with the NEA, O’Brien is responsible for exploring, examining and identifying innovative and/or emerging practices, programs and endeavors in the arts. During his tenure with the Endowment, O’Brien has fostered partnerships with other federal agencies including the Department of Defense, investigating the use of expressive writing as a formal medical protocol to help heal service members at military hospitals, and the National Science Foundation, exploring the impacts of creativity and critical interpretation theories on research and innovation in numerous disciplines where art and science intersect.
At the general conference on Oct. 3, the luncheon keynote address will be delivered by Tracey Grose, research director at the Institute for the Future.
Established in 1968 in Palo Alto, Calif., this non-profit research center specializes in long-term forecasting and quantitative futures research methods. Grose’s presentation entitled Making the Future: Signs of Resilience and Growth in the Clean Energy Economy, will examine how pioneering public policies including energy efficiency standards, renewables portfolio standards, caps on greenhouse gas emissions and vehicle emissions standards are reshaping our nation in positive ways. The institute’s research shows these policies are supporting the growth of new markets for products and services that help us achieve our environmental goals while also growing new economic opportunities. Recent original research results suggest the clean energy economy is showing signs of resilience, and even growing, coming out of the recent economic downturn.
The morning keynote address will be delivered by Scot Wrighton, city manager of Lavasa, India, the first and largest post‐independence planned city in India. Lavasa was created in part to develop and implement a replicable model for an “operationally integrated, sustainably managed” city. It is a laboratory for putting sustainability into the daily practices, governance and life of a city.
Lavasa has learned that even though operational sustainability must be customized to a city’s unique environment, many standards and measurement tools for quantifying success can be generalized to cities everywhere. Scot Wrighton is manager of this privately-funded urban development that is being planned for approximately 300,000 permanent residents, with facilities for about two million tourists per year and an employment base of about 97,000.
The city is being developed following the principles of New Urbanism, an urban design concept that promotes walkable neighborhoods containing a range of housing and employment types.
The afternoon keynote address will be delivered by Brian Rauch, vice president of engineering for John Deere’s Construction & Forestry Division. Rauch's presentation will focus on the impacts of the growing global economy and population. The world population is growing in areas least able to support growth due to lack of infrastructure and the risk of pandemic disease. The developed economies are declining in population and rapidly aging. These dynamics, along with a global demand for more proteins in our diets, puts an incredible burden on agriculture and infrastructure to double the world's food supply by 2050 without substantially increasing the amount of farmed land. The burden is on efficiency, infrastructure and political stability.
Admission to the one-day conference and luncheon on Oct. 3 is $75, which includes admission to the networking reception from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Oct. 2. Admission to the conference, luncheon, a pre-conference workshop and a mobile tour is $100. Seating is limited so early registration is encouraged. A limited number of hotel rooms have been reserved at the Grand Harbor Resort & Water Park, the Hotel Julien and the Holiday Inn for special conference rates starting at $89 per night, if booked prior to Sept. 1.
Hosted by the City of Dubuque and Sustainable City Network, Inc., the conference will educate leaders and staff on the latest sustainability ideas, plans and best practices in four distinct programming tracks:
1) Integrated Water Planning;
2) Flood Protection;
3) Waste Water Treatment Plant Energy Improvements & Generation;
4) Best Water Management Practices for Building Owners & Operators.
1) Sustainable vs. Conventional: A Matrix for Decision Making;
2) Best Energy Practices for Building Owners & Operators;
3) Putting on a Zero-Waste Event;
4) Building a National Network for Local ReUse.
1) Wayfinding Systems: Finding Your Way by Car, Bike or Foot;
2) Pedestrian Access Routes & ADA Guidelines;
3) Sustainable Asphalt Pavements;
4) Alternative Fuel Comparisons for Municipal and Commercial Fleets.
1) Engagement with True Market Solutions Circles;
2) Developing Green Teams;
3) Community Engagement Technology;
4) Partnering to Build Resiliency.
5) Measuring Sustainability
6) Building Citizen & Employee Engagement
Complete session descriptions and updates can be found at http://gscdubuque.com/programming.htm.
The conference is sponsored by Alliant Energy, Anderson Weber, A.Y. McDonald, Black Hills Energy, Cartegraph, Crescent Electric, Dittmer Recycling, Dubuque Bank & Trust, Eagle Point Solar, FOX Engineering, Gallagher Asphalt, Giese Lighting, Greater Dubuque Development Corp., HDR Engineering, Hoffman LLC, HR Green, IIW, P.C., Jim Giese Commercial Roofing, John Deere, Middleton, Wis. , MSA Professional Services, Nahn and Associates, NMRMA, KJWW Engineering Consultants, Northeast Iowa Community College, Premier Bank, Ruan Securities, Runde Auto Group, Snyder Associates, Solar Planet, True North Companies, Unison Solutions, University of Dubuque, and Waste Management.
Last year’s event was attended by about 350 people. Here’s what attendees had to say about the conference:
"The Sustainable Communities conference was packed with useful, timely, relevant sessions on a variety of topics - from stormwater to recycling to energy efficiency. I found the sessions both engaging and full of good tips that I'll bring back to my city!"
"This was wastewater plant director crack. I couldn't get enough. Great stuff!"
"Dubuque's commitment to hosting this conference, and doing it so incredibly well, really reflects their commitment to sustainability. The city knows that their "green" impact can be multiplied by assisting other cities in implementing sustainability, and it's not about competition, but rather moving forward collectively and improving upon what others have learned."