Jersey City, New Jersey
New Jersey is the first U.S. state to have a comprehensive municipal sustainability program that links certification with strong state and private financial incentives and a technical support and training program. The program is called Sustainable Jersey and in 2011, Jersey City’s two-year-old Green Committee focused its attention on achieving certification. The city’s green initiatives became organized under one umbrella project called, “365 Days of Green.”
365 Days of Green: A Year in Review
In the past year Jersey City has:
- Completed a municipal energy audit and fleet inventory
- Enacted a green purchasing policy
- Adopted agricultural friendly zoning
- Created programs for residents to adopt community gardens and parks
- Achieved Sustainable Jersey certification
Jersey City has also taken steps to ensure its different governmental agencies and committees are working in a cohesive way to achieve a positive path forward. For example, the Green Task Force will create a master sustainability plan to be adopted into the City Master Plan. This Green Task Force will oversee the City’s continued quest to maintain Sustainable Jersey certification.
Riverside is being honored for the Green Action Plan, a comprehensive blueprint for molding the city into a healthy and sustainable community. The Green Action Plan is a 38-point strategy to improve sustainability in eight major categories.
8 Green Action Plan Areas:
- Greenhouse gas emissions
- Urban design
- Urban nature
- Healthy communities.
As of 2010, 20% of the Riverside’s power was being generated from renewable sources and 36% of power sources were non-greenhouse gas emitting. The city also aims to install at least 20 megawatts of solar power by 2020 through the offering of residential and commercial incentives and financing mechanisms. Total solar energy being produced in the city is already near 4.4 megawatts.
In 2007, Riverside exceeded the state’s target waste diversion rate and is well on its way to reducing waste by 75% before 2020. The city’s Cleaning Up Riverside’s Environment (CURE) program, Green Waste capture program, and recycling programs have allowed Riverside to divert 69% of its waste from landfills as of 2010.
Riverside has planted more than 13,000 trees in each of the past three years. The city’s park system consists of 51 parks totaling 2,500 acres. Riverside intends to increase open space by another 200 acres before 2015, moving the city toward its goal of providing 90% of residents with access to park, recreation, or open space within a half mile of their residence.
Santa Monica, California
Santa Monica is being honored for its integrated planning efforts based on its Sustainable City Plan (SCP). Sustainability strategies developed through the SCP are woven into all of the city’s planning documents, particularly the 2010 Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE), which integrates land use and transportation planning activities. Santa Monica has been on the forefront of adopting a Green Building Ordinance and has recently adopted a cutting-edge Bicycle Action Plan.
Other initiatives pursued by Santa Monica include:
- Creative Capital -- arts and cultural retention and development
- Consolidated Plan -- affordable housing development
- The 2008-2014 Housing Element
- The Historic Preservation Element
- and many specific plans for all parts of the City, all promoting sustainable development and multi-modal strategies.
Santa Monica also partners with the business community in programs such as “Buy Local,” “Business Greening,” and an effort called the Santa Monica Alliance, which promotes sustainability in terms of maintaining healthy businesses.
About the Siemens Sutainable Community Awards
The Siemens Sustainable Community Awards applaud the nation’s foremost examples of local public and private entities working in partnership to take on the challenge of sustainable development. The finalist recognition goes to local governments, chambers of commerce, convention bureaus, economic development authorities, and similar organizations that have made exceptional contributions towards long-term social and economic development in their local communities. The Midsize Community category is for cities with 50,000 to 500,000 residents.