|Building a Smarter City Through Sustainability
A Strategic Vision and Outline for Action
Your Chance to Participate Has Arrived. The Green Team wants to hear from you! During the summer and fall of 2012, there will be in-person meetings and online opportunities to provide your input. How to get involved:
When will the Planning Process Start and End? The Sustainability Planning process has begun, and the Green Team is now ready for the public’s input. The first round of public input will last through October 1, 2012. Tentatively, the Office of Environmental Sustainability anticipates completing a draft Sustainability Plan by spring 2013. The time frame may change depending on how detailed the plan is, and how many meetings are held throughout the City.
What is Sustainability? Sustainability is generally defined as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The long-term sustainable development of a city can be thought of as the implementation of intersecting policies that address key social, economic and environmental conditions in the community (also known as the “three pillars of sustainable development”).
What is a Sustainability Plan? A Sustainability Plan identifies a strategic vision and works to achieve it through a comprehensive set of goals and strategies focused on improving environmental quality, economic strength, and social equity within a community. The Plan works like a road map guiding the City towards a more sustainable future, through the implementation of strategies identified through a comprehensive, inclusive stakeholder process.
Milwaukee’s Sustainability Plan: The purpose of the City of Milwaukee Sustainability Plan (“the Plan”) is to provide a community and City endorsed strategic vision for Milwaukee’s sustainable economic development for the next 5-10 years. The Plan will document the vision, goals, targets and specific actions that the City of Milwaukee and its community partners will undertake in order to ensure that both current residents and future generations can attain and enjoy a higher quality of life.
The Plan will incorporate “triple bottom-line” accounting so that Milwaukee’s residents, businesses and environment benefit from implementation (i.e., people, planet and profits). The planning effort will utilize the 2005 Green Team Report as a foundation for Plan development as well as utilize the Natural Step for Communities and ICLEI STAR Communities Index as methodologies. In addition, the Brico Fund is developing a Milwaukee Sustainability Fund that ensures immediate transition from planning to action in the community.
Milwaukee’s Sustainability Plan Vision Statement: Milwaukee’s Sustainability Plan will create an alignment of economic and environmental interests that improve Milwaukee’s quality of life, benefiting residents, businesses and our natural environment through embracing smart, achievable sustainability principles. As a result, Milwaukee will be the Fresh Coast Capitol of North America.
WHY IS A SUSTAINABILITY PLAN ESSENTIAL?
Why Now? There is a strong desire for action in the community, specifically as it relates to identifying a strategic vision and action plan for improving the overall sustainability of Milwaukee. Mayor Barrett catalyzed this movement in the community with formation of the original Green Team in 2004, the publication of the Green Team Report in 2005 and the subsequent creation of the City’s Office of Environmental Sustainability (OES) in 2006. In 2011, the Mayor reported back to the original Green Team on Milwaukee’s sustainability achievements since 2005 noting a strong foundation for sustainable economic development in the City had been laid. In fact, one of the recommendations in the 2005 Green Team Report is to “develop a green plan for the City.” 
The Mayor announced at his 2012 State of the City address (February 13, 2012) that he wants to work with the community to build a smarter city through sustainability and has directed the OES Director to begin a sustainability planning exercise immediately. Milwaukee was among nationally leading municipalities when it published the Green Team Report and created OES but has since fallen behind as today’s leading “green” municipalities have a community endorsed Sustainability Plan (and/or Climate Action Plan).
Why Not a Climate Action Plan? Climate Action Plans can generally be defined as plans that lay out a strategy, including specific policy recommendations that a municipality will use to address climate change and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions (EPA definition). The City of Milwaukee wants to cover more territory than is generally covered in Climate Action Plans including a focus on the economic development aspects of sustainability. As a result, the more comprehensive Sustainability Planning process is being utilized.
What Cities Have Sustainability Plans? North America’s leading cities in the field of sustainable economic development have either a Sustainability Plan or a Climate Action Plan (and in some cases both). New York City (PlanNYC), Austin (STAR Community Index Pilot City), Minneapolis (Living Well Sustainability Indicators), Philadelphia (Greenworks), Baltimore (Baltimore Sustainability Plan) and Vancouver (Vancouver 2020: A Bright Green Future) all have Sustainability Plans and/or sustainability indicators.
 The Natural Step model of sustainability was developed in Sweden in 1983 by Dr. Karl-Henrik Robért. It has since been adjusted for use at the community level in the book The Natural Step for Communities: How Communities and Towns Can Change to Sustainable Practices (James and Lahti). The Natural Step model is a systematic approach to sustainability. The model doesn’t approach sustainability in terms of single projects, but as an entire system and all of the actions and decisions that made within that system. It also uses the A-B-C-D planning process. That process is as follows: Awareness and Visioning; Baseline Mapping; Creative Solutions; and Decide on Priorities. More information about the Natural Step Model can be found at http://www.naturalstep.org/.
 ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability is an international association dedicated to climate change mitigation, climate change adaptation, as well as sustainability. It offers services for its members, which include creating a framework and technical assistance for the creation of items such as climate protection plans, greenhouse gas inventories, and sustainability plans. Currently ICLEI USA has a network of over 600 cities, towns and counties working towards more sustainable practices within their local governments and communities. The City of Milwaukee is a member. The ICLEI STAR Community Index aids communities with their efforts to become more sustainable. The index includes 81 sustainability goals and 10 guiding principles. This index is designed to set up predefined goals and set a national standard. Benchmarking progress is made much easier when communities use the same definitions and framework. The STAR Community Index can be utilized during the goal setting module of the ICLEI program. More information about ICLEI can be found at http://www.icleiusa.org/.
 2005 Green Team Report, Objective 4: Implement “Cross Cutting” Strategies that Address Multiple Green Objectives, Recommendation #1, page 23 (See Appendix D for more information).