Tuesday, June 19, 2007

CMRC Releases Report on Sustainable Design & Development

Sustainability. It's a term that we often hear in our modern day "green" society. But I've always wondered, what exactly does it mean?

For some it may be its simplest definition - balance & longevity. For others it may be a cool marketing word to help appeal to consumers. For those of us focusing on community development and conservation it is often defined as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future.

For coastal marine ecosystems and waterfront communities, the question then is how can we take this definition of sustainability and apply it to our current environmental and social challenges? One way is to look directly at the environment that surrounds us, the built environment. And that is exactly what the CMRC and a diverse range of partners aimed to examine when we convened a seminar on Sustainable Design and Development earlier this year.

The results of the seminar can now be found in the following report: Sustainable Design & Development. A brief Executive Summary can also be found below. Please feel free to contact us at business.stewardship@thecmrc.org with questions or comments.

Sustainability is a great concept. But unfortunately it seems like it has been just a concept to date. Now we need incorporate sustainable practices into our coastal marine ecosystem by examining the many facets of our everyday life. The built environment seems like a great place to start ...JB


On April 24, 2007 the Coastal Marine Resource Center and its partners convened a seminar on Sustainable Design and Development: Implications for Policy and Planning. The workshop attempted to answer the question: Where are the opportunities for implementing sustainable design practices in our region and what can be done to better incentivize practices that benefit coastal marine resources?

The Seminar included presentations from experts on the state-of-the-art thinking behind sustainable design and development and highlighted the opportunities and challenges to making a significant impact on our environment, communities and economies. Presentations included the following speakers and topics: Kate Shackford, Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, Planning for Sustainability: Bronx Initiative for Energy & Environment; Jeff Raven, Ammann & Whitney, Implementation and Engineering for Green Projects; and Pete Atkin, GreenOrder, The Benefits of Sustainable Design to Businesses

Following the presentations, a diverse audience of government officials, conservation advocates and business owners worked with presenters and facilitators to identify major opportunities and potential projects for implementation within specific topic areas. The recommendations included:

Technology – Water Quality Sensors, Blackwater Holding Systems and Green Roofs
Finance – A Cap & Trade System for Stormwater
Policy – Tax Incentives to Promote Source Controls & Reduce Runoff

To move sustainable design and development forward, participants agreed that the NY – NJ Harbor Bight will need increased collaboration between businesses, policy-makers and scientists. The consensus appears that we are at the threshold of achieving great benefits with these initiatives but will need to better connect resource efficiency with profitability. This may require greater initial capital investment and creative incentive programs to promote further development of sustainable design tools for real estate developers in our coastal region.

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