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DAVIS, California

Starting Point: A major university, Co-ops

Organizing Strategy: Create and support institutions that build on community’s existing environmental consciousness

Tools: Cooperative principles, state and local resources, educated populace

Outcomes: Strong sense of community, reinforced by environmental commitment

Prime Sources: Wikipedia and cityofdavis.org

From cityofdavis.org: Sustainability and Open Space Conservation

What is a Sustainable Community?

Sustainability is a general concept used to describe a community that considers the long-term affects of its decisions on future generations and the natural world. It is a tool that helps individuals, communities, states, and nations focus on what needs to be done to ensure that future generations and natural communities are stable and thrive. In practice this means that a community recognizes that economy, society, and environment are mutually dependent and need to be balanced. To move toward sustainability, communities and individuals must incorporate this concept into both long-term and day-to-day decisions.

For most communities this requires a new mind-set. For Davis this means a renewed focus on established core community values of innovation and conservation and building on existing programs. This will allow Davis to take positive steps toward sustainability and provide an even stronger example of a community designed to address and adapt to the environmental challenges on the horizon.

City Actions

The City is currently focused on addressing local greenhouse gas emissions. The City is conducting an inventory of community greenhouse gas emissions and will set reduction targets when the inventory is complete early next year. 

The City is also coordinating with UC Davis and other organizations to identify where efforts on sustainability and climate change overlap. This will allow the City to partner with other organizations and groups to increase the effectiveness of its actions.

From Wikipedia:

The Department of Community Development & Sustainability is responsible for a wide range of functions related to community change evolution, enhancement and preservation. Areas of responsibility include planning and zoning, building inspection and plan check services and economic development. Specific task areas include current and advanced planning, zoning administration, environmental impact studies, management of historic structures, sustainability management, agricultural conservation, city property acquisition and management, code compliance, resale inspections, downtown redevelopment and public information. The Department strives to provide vision and leadership within the context of innovative, high quality, equitable and efficient services which encompass and reflects community values.”

Whole Earth Festival: A continuous stream of bands, speakers and various workshops occurs throughout Mother’s Day weekend on each of Whole Earth Festival’s (WEF) three stages and other specialty areas. The WEF is organized entirely by UC Davis students, in association with the Associated Students of UC Davis, the Experimental College, and the university.

Davis Transmedia Art Walk: The Davis Transmedia Art Walk is a free, self-guided, public art tour includes 23 public murals, 16 sculptures, and 15 galleries and museums all in downtown Davis and the University of Davis campus. A free Davis Art Walk map serves as a detailed guide to the entire collection. The art pieces are all within walking distance of each other. The walk is a roughly circuitous path that can be completed within an hour or two. Every piece of art on the Art Walk has been embedded with an RFID chip. Using a cellphone that supports this technology, you access multimedia files that relate to each work.

The Domes: The Domes, (AKA Baggins End Innovative Housing), is an on-campus cooperative housing community designed by project manager Ron Swenson and future student-residents in 1972. Consisting of 14 polyurethane foam-insulated fiberglass domes and located in the Sustainable Research Area at the western end of Orchard Road, it is governed by its 26 UCD student residents. It is one of the only student co-housing cooperative communities in the USA, and is an early example of the modern-day growing tiny house movement.

Farmers Market: The Davis Farmers Market is held every Wednesday evening and Saturday morning. Participants sell a range of fruits and vegetables, baked goods, dairy and meat products (often from certified organic farms), crafts, and plants and flowers. From April to October, the market hosts Picnic in the Park, with musical events and food sold from restaurant stands. The Davis Farmers Market won first place in the 2009, and second place in the 2010 America’s Favorite Farmers Markets held by the American Farmland Trust under the large Farmers market classification.