On Demand: Evidence-Based Sustainability

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This highly relevant short course is broken down into five sessions taught by highly experienced leaders in the field. This course was recorded live at the APA National Planning Conference on April 15, 2012. Contents of Course Measuring Sustainability: What and Why In this first session in the short course, speakers examine the issues and provide the context. Why do we care about sustainability measurement? Who has been doing what? These questions provide the framework for thinking about measuring sustainability and the big problems that arise with measurement and implementation. A brief overview provides the historical context and definitions and leads to a discussion of the reasons for measures. Next speakers describe some of the difficulties for implementation and how these have been resolved. The session ends with an explanation of the five-session short course. Terry Moore, FAICP, ECONorthwest; Dr. Gerrit Knaap, Director, National Center for Smart Growth Measuring Sustainability with Data The third session focuses on data sources and types of measurements, by category of measurement. This session provides an extended discussion of the details of the technical problems of measurement and how to resolve them. Speakers use a longitudinal analysis of the ways in which data shapes sustainability planning. Speakers address other "evidence" besides data sets: surveys, case studies, cross-jurisdictional rating and ranking systems, qualitative/subjective evidence (e.g., story telling; oral history). Hilda Blanco, University of Southern California Assessing Sustainability Contrast the competing definitions of sustainability and learn how sustainable approaches are making a difference in communities. Learn why assessment tools are critically important in comparing options, programs, and overall efforts. Explore qualitative and quantitative assessment tools, comprehensive assessment instruments, and more informal assessment approaches. This session builds on the new PAS Report, "Assessing Sustainability: A Guide for Local Government." Wayne Feiden, FAICP, Director, City of Northampton; Erin Simmons, Director of Design Assistance, Center for Communities by Design, American Institute for Architects; Dory E. Reeves, Professor and Associate Dean, School of Architecture and Planning, University of Auckland, New Zealand Integrating Measurements into Decision Making In the fourth session, speakers examine the integration of the evidence into decision making. This is a more difficult problem than measurement. It's easy to name things to measure, and not that hard to measure them if you have the budget. But what do you do that is relevant to real decision making with the measurements once you have them? What are the analytical techniques for scoring, weighting and ranking? What are the procedural techniques for agreement on the analytical techniques and their influence on policy decisions? And what about implementation and enforcement? Matthew Kitchen, Program Manager for Development, Puget Sound Regional Council Applications of Evidence-Based Sustainability The final session examines two leading jurisdictions who have implemented sustainability programs and made data analysis and measurement integral to planning and policy. Plans are developed at many levels, yet MPO and level plans have a great potential due to the scope and resources available to for both the scope needed to under sustainability that is evidence-based. Regional plans and citywide programs are also assessed. The session examines theory and the practice of sustainability. Matt Carpenter, Sacramento Area Council of Governments; Robert Liberty, Executive Director, University of Oregon


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About the Speakers

Wayne Feiden
Director, City of Northampton

Robert Liberty
Executive Director, University of Oregon

Matt Carpenter
Sacramento Area Council of Governments;

Hilda Blanco
University of Southern California

Matthew Kitchen
Program Manager for Development, Pudget Sound Regional Council

Dory E. Reeves
Professor and Associate Dean, School of Architecture and Planning, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Terry Moore

Erin Simmons
Director of Design Assistance, Center for Communities by Design, American Institute for Architects

Gerrit Knaap
Director, National Center for Smart Growth