Sunday, November 4, 2007

Community Economic Development – Building A Sustainable Economy

Roseland/Beatley – Week of November 4th

Roseland states that the main goal of community economic development (CED) is self-reliance, achieved through collaborative action, capacity building, and the return of local economic control to communities. While I feel collaborative action was something that could have been discussed further, I pulled out a few examples of tools and initiatives he suggests that I liked, followed by a few comments on Beatley’s chapter 12:

-Financing: Reinvestment policies: banks, insurance companies, and other depository institutions are required to reinvest significant portions of the capital they ‘extract’ from the community.

-Skills training and small business development: the idea of creating a “sheltered” place to train local residents, using already existing or easily obtainable space and equipment, allowing for people to gain career training and for start-up costs for those businesses to be lower.

-Interesting point made in the “Green Business” section: “More jobs will be created in energy efficiency, recycling, and public transportation than will be lost in the oil and coal industries, car manufacturing, and waste disposal.” It would be interesting to see projected number that correspond with that statement, since it seems that job loss is a huge point made in the debate over efficiency and transportation.

-Green maps and a Green Business Directory would be great in cities, where so many similar businesses may exist (ie. cafes) that it is difficult to know the details on them all. Having a directory with information on local businesses could be great for a city like Ithaca, which already shows interest in sustainability, and could help stimulate awareness in other cities.

-The idea of rideshare bucks, mentioned under ‘local currency,’ could be useful for Cornell in particular, as an incentive to increase carpooling by commuting employees and decrease campus car traffic.

-Buy Nothing Day: November 29th. Maybe this is something that could be started (if it hasn’t already?) in Ithaca and especially on the Cornell Campus. It seems like it could have a huge impact, especially because it’s during the major kickoff of the holiday shopping season.

-Industrial Symbiosis (Beatley): having wastes from one be inputs for another… A great step for creating closed-loop processes or industrial parks. To add another example, there is a waste processing facility (I believe in North Carolina), sited on an old dump, where the heat from the plant (which makes use of old infrastructure), is used to heat artists’ kilns, and ‘waste’ heat goes on from there to be used. This is a dump that is currently capped, and there are plans to expand to include a recycling/composting facility and recreational space.

-Landscape Recycling & Adaptive Reuse – There is a large segment of landscape architecture that is devoted to this type of work, where ‘brownfields’ are reclaimed for new uses. Their designs definitely incorporate ‘green’ technologies and restorative processes, while giving abandoned or underused spaces new roles to fulfill.


GoForTheTop said...

I really like the idea of waste equaling food in the clustered industrial parks. It reminds me of the central argument of the book "Cradle to Cradle" by McDonough and Braungart. They are a pair trying to form a new design paradigm using architecture and chemistry. They have worked with many companies, including the carpet company mentioned in Beately, to have zero harmful side effects for their products. For one of the factories they worked with, the EPA had to re -check their instruments when testing the facilities' effluents because it was actually purifying the water that left instead of polluting it. I think that this theory of following Mother Nature's advice that waste = food is something we should each contemplate in our our lives and see how possible the design of the products we use daily allow us to truly consume anything... we instead just use some parts of the product and throw the rest away--a system in which waste=waste not food.

Asrana said...

In the Monday, October 29th edition of the Wall Street Journal, there was a section on the environment that focused on the new "green" movement. Among other discussions, the journalists highlighted the effect of the sustainability movement on businesses. "New Priorities: For some job seekers, oil companies are out. Alternative-energy start-ups are the place to be." was the name of a column that discussed how top talent is passing up once popular oil companies. The oil companies no longer are getting the pick of the crop they experienced in the 1960s and 1970s. This illustrates how the upcoming generations are making statements about whats important to them and the direction of future energy research.

Squonk said...

Just a few quick points... These are some very promising ideas (for the most part). As far as landscape and recycling goes, this is a promising idea in both large green spaces and inner cities. Currently in New Orleans there is an organization which works with inner city dwellers to teach them permaculture. Land reuse/ industrial symbiosis can happen on the small scale as well as large. As far as the buy nothing day goes, I always find these ideas questionable because they are based on people's morals, if people do not see the merit for them, why should they participate.