Recap: Symposium on Urban Sustainability in North American Cities

Dr. Stephanie Pincetl, together with the California Center for Sustainable Communities and the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability hosted a daylong Symposium on Urban Sustainability in North American Cities.

Keynote Panel: What a Mayor Can Do to Green a City

The event featured a discussion between Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa and former C40 Director and former Toronto Mayor David Miller. With over 200 attendees, the Mayors discussed their city’s sustainability initiatives and the need for strong leadership. Notably, both Mayors mentioned the importance of alternative transportation infrastructure and clean energy investment –two of CCSC’s main research areas.

Both Mayor Villaraigosa and former Mayor David Miller emphasized the importance of local governance’s role in addressing climate change:

“The mayors (attending the Copenhagen Summit) were elbowing each other to see who could do the most. There was a competition among us…there is a big difference between mayors and cities and their role in climate change and their role than there is for national governments.” – Mayor Villaraigosa

“A mayor’s job is to make real practical change that people can see.” –Former Mayor David Miller

The audience was pleased to hear Mayor Villaraigosa’s plans to sign an agreement for the City of Los Angeles to be completely off of coal by 2025.

The Keynote Panel presentation can be viewed at the symposium website.

Sessions: Energy Use in Sustainable Cities, How Do Urban Regions Deal with An Uncertain Future Water Supply? And How Do We Create Healthy Urban Streets, Reduce Greenhouse Gases And Provide Mobility?

After the Mayoral Forum, a group of policymakers, researchers, and stakeholders adjourned to hear cutting-edge environmental and sustainability research and discuss practical implementation methods. Guest speakers featured several current and past CCSC researchers, including Michael McCoy, Terri Hogue, Mark Gold, and Mikhail Chester. Please visit the event website to view slides from each of their presentations.

Wrap Up: Where Do We Go From Here?

Dr. Pincetl concluded the event with the “Five I’s of the Conference,” which was a summary of information discussed and a look at the work to be done.

  1. Infrastructure
  2. Institutions
  3. Integrated Solutions
  4. Information
  5. Investments

To read more about the 5 I’s, please click here.