Urban areas selected for this program will take advantage of a year's worth of expert advice provided by people with decades of sustainability expertise.
Cities can benefit from the advice of experts with decades worth of experience in the following fields:
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.
Other sustainability expertise may be available.
The Urban Sustainability Accelerator is different from other sustainability workshops, conferences and training programs
The Urban Sustainability Accelerator has several elements that in combination make it different from other sustainability assistance programs:
A focus on implementation
Today, good sustainability ideas are abundant but many of them remain nothing more than recommendations in a report or a goal statement in a plan. Our focus is on the implementation of the sustainability projects that urban areas have adopted and now want to implement.
Sustained assistance over a year or more
The assistance will be sustained over the course of one year beginning in Spring 2013. Depending on the availability of sufficient resources, additional limited guidance may be available for an additional year or more.
Strategic advice to complement technical advice
The USA project recognizes that implementation of sustainability projects requires not only technical assistance but also strategic advice about how to overcome different types of political and administrative challenges.
Participants benefit from a mutual learning and support network of the participating cities
The Urban Sustainability Accelerator will create a learning and morale-building network between and among the teams of people from each participating city. We will encourage each year’s cohort of cities will continue to support each other’s efforts after the conclusion of the implementation year.
Reliance on implementation teams made up of people from government, business and nonprofit organizations to promote more effective implementation
USA emphasizes joint participation by specially-created implementation teams that include elected officials, government staff, business and nonprofit leaders. This approach reflects our belief that the success and speed of implementation is enhanced when it is part of a broader effort to create the social and political capital in the private and nonprofit sectors and among community groups to support sustainability projects.
An emphasis on peer-to-peer advising
The USA assistance program emphasizes peer-to-peer advising to enhance communication and credibility; business leaders advising business leaders, election officials advising elected officials, nonprofit staff advising nonprofit staff members.
Draws on knowledge and resources of universities
USA draws upon the skills and resources of the faculty and graduate students of an urban-focused university, Portland State University (PSU), and when appropriate will link those faculty and student resources with an institution of higher education serving a participating city.