Our latest blog post on Joan Fitzgerald's 2010 book, Emerald Cities: Urban Sustainability and Economic Development, is by Bob Lewis, AICP, Chair of the Economic Development Division. Bob's company, Development Strategies, Inc., is involved in an experimental venture that the City of St. Louis is embarking to effectively determine how it can adapt to the themes raised by Ms. Fitzgerald’s book. "I’m thankful that I read Emerald Citiesbefore the City called me!" he says. "You should read it too — just in case..."
Development Strategies, Inc.'s role in the St. Louis project — being called the Climate Sustainability Plan — is to identify metrics that economically justify going green. Although "sustainable" development is a movement with immense momentum around the globe today, it is a movement that still has to prove its economic value.
Thus the need for economic metrics. The questions become, "Does this save money?" and "How?" Inquiring residents and businesses — who are asked to pay for going green — will want to know.
A quote from the book calls cities "the Saudi Arabia of energy efficiency." As Bob says, in other words, "there’s gold in them thar cities. All we have to do is find ways to mine it." What savings do we get from greener approaches to managing and operating our cities? What added economic development do we attract by going green, or at least greener?