Starting Point: An elected mayor providing leadership.
Organizing Strategy: Appeal to the pride and capacity of local population and institutions
Tools: The convening and budgetary power of local government.
Outcomes: Success, both in achieving a sustainable community, and in proving to often divided interests that collaboration and compromise work.
Prime Sources: https://www.burlingtonvt.gov/ and “Sustainable Communities”, available from Amazon
From “Sustainable Communities”:
An activist municipal government, working in partnership with the private sector and a network of municipally supported nonproﬁt organizations, pursued a sustainable development strategy before the term was invented. The strategy involved generating new sources of public revenue; creating and retaining jobs; encouraging and regulating growth; ensuring a publicly controlled waterfront; producing permanently affordable housing; stabilizing residential neighborhoods; reducing energy consumption; promoting – in fact requiring – the recycling of solid waste; and removing barriers preventing women from enjoying the fruits of economic growth.
In Burlington, sustainable community development is guided by six public policies or principles. They are:
1 Encouraging economic self-sufﬁciency through local ownership and the maximum use of local resources (“seal the leaky bucket”);
2 Equalizing the beneﬁts and burdens of growth;
3 Leveraging and recycling scarce public funds;
4 Protecting and preserving fragile environmental resources;
5 Ensuring full participation by populations normally excluded from the political and economic mainstream; and
6 Nurturing a robust “third sector” of private, nonproﬁt organizations capable of working in concert with government to deliver essential goods and services.
The six public policies for Burlington nicely parallel our ten principles and trends, and are a good argument for their relevance.