Planning with a Purpose:Conduct a community visioning and planning initiative that engages a diverse set of community members & stakeholders and uses a sustainability, resilience, or environmental justice framework such as:
a. Strong Towns, Resiliency, Transition, Appreciative Inquiry.
b. Eco-municipalities, Smart Cities, Healthy Communities.
c. Environmental Justice, Race Equity, Equitable Development.
A Strong Town approach emphasizes obtaining a higher return on existing infrastructure investments, to support a model for community sustainability that allows cities to become financially strong and self-sufficient rather than inducing continual growth to pay off deferred/unbudgeted maintenance on previous development projects. This approach to growth and development does not require placing huge bets (indebtedness) on the future, oversizing infrastructure in service of multi-decade growth projections, but instead invests in high return, incremental (fractal) endeavors where the likelihood of success is great and less prone to failure due to modeling error.
See BPA 29.3 for resilient community connectedness and social & economic vitality.
The Transition Town movement aims to create a more resilient, sustainable and positive local future in light of climate change and ultimately declining global oil use/production.
Appreciative Inquiry - refocuses attention on community assets, what works, the positive core, and on what people really care about instead of focusing on deficiencies i.e. - "problems, challenges, what's wrong? what needs to be fixed?" For example, the City of St. Louis Park's two most recent comprehensive plans have built upon their community wide appreciative inquiry community planning process in 2004. Also, see this U of MN Extension video to learn more.
The eco-municipality framework, based on the system conditions of The Natural Step (cyclical resource flows, relying on current solar income, strength through ecological, economic and social diversity), are presented in Toward a Sustainable Community: A Toolkit for Local Government (University of Wisconsin Extension: 2013).
The International City/County Management Association defines a Smart City as one that uses information and communications technology to enhance its livability, workability, and sustainability. Connect with Smart North, a not-for-profit coalition driving “Smart City” initiatives in MN. With a focus on infrastructure, large companies such as Siemens also work on Smart City projects.
A healthy communities framework is informed by The Precautionary Principle and is congruent with the World Health Organization's approach, which asserts that the fundamental conditions and resources for health are peace, shelter, education, food, income, a stable economy, sustainable resources, social justice and equity. AARP, along with WHO, supports an Age-Friendly Communities Program. See related Health Impact Assessment (HIA) and health/community design materials at the MN Dept. of Health. See Health Equity data.
Learn about the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Culture of Health Framework focused on achieving health equity by connecting health with social, economic, physical and environmental factors.
An environmental justice framework aims to make sure that pollution does not have a disproportionate impact on any group of people, and that all people benefit from equal levels of environmental protection and have opportunities to participate in decisions that may affect their environment or health. An MPCA map of Areas of Concern for Environmental Justice and Met Council Place-Based Equity Research allows users to identify Census tracts where additional consideration or effort is warranted to evaluate the potential for disproportionate adverse impacts. Overlay these areas of concern with known locations of brownfield sites, fossil fuel extraction, production and transmission facilities, concentrated animal feedlots, waste treatment and incineration facilities, chemical inducing and air-polluting manufacturing, etc.
Conduct a city or county-wide mapping study to assess economic, health/housing/food access and other social disparities across demographics (racial/ethnic/religious groups, gender identities, socio-economic status, age, etc.) in order to identify priority geographies and populations.
Include in your plan or adopt an Indigenous Land Acknowledgement - See BPA 6.1.
See The Alliance's Equitable Development Principals & Scorecard (2016) which helps communities ensure that the principles and practices of equitable development, environmental justice, and affordability are available to all residents.
Host a community meeting/event that explicitly uses a sustainability framework. Report staff training and GARE participation under BPA 24.7 (previously here). Report specific examples of expanding community engagement to diverse audiences under BPA 24.7.
Conduct a health impact assessment of city plans/policies/development; conduct a comprehensive health/housing/food access study or environmental justice assessment across demographics.
Achieve 2-star rating and adopt a sustainability plan or other implementation plan and/or goals and document concrete actions taken toward achieving them. Report adopted energy or climate plans under BPA 6.5. Report adopted equity plans under BPA 24.7. Report adopted resiliency plans under BPA 29.2.
Who's doing it
Bemidji - 3 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Bemidji Sustainability Committee articles in local paper- The Pioneer. Members of committee submit one article about sustainability initiatives per month to paper for publication. Themes range but include permaculture. Monthly; started Feb. 2015
BP 24, 5.c: Permaculture Design Charrette was held to give participants an introduction to Permaculture, and to provide a design for an urban homeowner. 8/2014 Designed an 8 hour PC course to be conducted at a home. Participants learned about permaculture through lecture and hands on activities and came up with the final design.
Permaculture Tuesdays once a month at RRFS - part of Sustainable Tuesday programs. Each month we have 5+ participants and a different topics. Ongoing.
Crookston InMotion is a community lead initiative that is comprised of citizens and city counsel members that are interested in improving Crookston. This initiative is broken down into 4 Destiny Drivers with 5 guiding principles. The 4 Destiny Drivers are downtown vitality, expanding housing, economic opportunity, sustainability. Sustainability has 5 guiding principles that are build from the inside out, improve energy efficiency in design/ retrofit of homes and community layout, more walkable community, local, good food production, and celebrate our rich natural resources.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
After several Planning to Action Sessions, plans for a downtown square were created. Unused land near the downtown area was purchased by the city and through a series of design charettes, a design was created by the community and city leaders. The pavilion that now exists hosts our farmers market events.
The Trails, River, & Active Living Group took their meeting outside and cleared trails for easier access to the community.
Moorhead Community Resilience Task Force Created in 2019, the Moorhead Community Resilience Task Force is a collaboration of education, local government, private & nonprofit organizations that have decided to work together to create a more resilient community. Our focus is to prepare for extreme weather and reduce the vulnerability of people and our community. We intend to do this by being proactive and collaborative. Last month (in early 2020) the Bush Foundation awarded the Moorhead Community Resilience Task Force a Community Innovation grant to develop a community resilience action plan and take initial steps to become better prepared to face the impacts of climate change. The Moorhead Community Resilience Task Force will lead this work through a process of cooperation and deliberative community problem-solving. Working groups with the Moorhead Community Resilience Task Force are now in the process of developing actionable sets of goals in specific areas of resilience: infrastructure, ecosystems, health and wellness, governance & social equity, and economic health. The work is engaged and seeks participation from all parts of the Moorhead community.
The development process of the St. Cloud Area Sustainability Plan actively engaged the community to establish a baseline and establish a local vision, goals and initiatives. The process also included a number of education sessions on sustainability and the Natural Step Framework. The community celebrated the passage of the first sustainability plan with a Sustainability Event in April, 2011. The event featured free food produced by local farmers, educational workshops on topics ranging from rain barrels to chemical-free gardening, the presentation of the first annual sustainability award, live music and even a yak! Given the success of the event, plans to make in an annual event highlighting sustainability and celebrating local efforts are already in the works.
"Destination 2040" the City of Belle Plaine's 2040 Comprehensive Plan update includes a community health, wellness, and resilience element (copy attached). The element was reviewed at several public meetings and by representatives from various City boards, committees, and commissions. The fundamental components of the plan element are weaved throughout other elements of the plan from land use to parks, trails, and recreation. The community health, wellness, and resilience element supports livability, stewardship, sustainability, social equity, and economic prosperity outcomes on which Destination 2040 is based.
Coon Rapids hosts various workshops to support community education related to specific topics like permaculture, local food options, winterization techniques and energy reduction practices. Forums are marketed to all city residents and work to create multi-generational learning for a community with various age demographics. Coon Rapids participated in the State Health Improvement Program (SHIP). The city hosts and promotes community gardens and the local Farmer's Market. We also provide healthy communities programs through partnerships with Anoka-Hennepin Community Education.
The City of Duluth is a supporting organization for Sustainable Twin Ports (STP), a non-profit, 501(c3)organization that provides science based training in the Natural Step process to achieve sustainablity. Two City employee teams have participated in the six-month or longer training conducted by STP, along with thirty other Twin Ports organizations.
Green Team projects include Composting education, community and residential gardens, local food locator map, monthly sustainable food classes, seasonal camps, renewable energy education and general sustainable practices among tribe members. There are also Classes reconnecting traditional knowledge and skills.
Northfield is the first Transition Town in Minnesota. Transition Northfield recently hosted Richard Heinberg for a talk on community planning in a changing world. This event was co-sponsored by the Blandin Foundation and involved alumni of the Blandin Community Leadership Program.
The city helped support the development of the St. Cloud Area Sustainability Plan in 2010. The plan establishes goals and visions for the St. Cloud Area. The plan outlines 17 Best Practice Areas. Some example practice areas include: greenhouse gas reductions, Environmentally Preferable Purchasing, sustainable land use policies, alternative energy, energy efficiency and more!
Floating Best Practice - The City of Edina participated in a Natural Step workshop for City staff, City Council, City Commissioners and residents at large on July 27, 2009 and Aug. 6, 2009. Thereafter various City Commissioners, residents and City Council members attend the quarterly workshops sponsored by the Sustainability Alliance.
The Community Garden of Hackensack has hosted an Garden Expo for the last 2 years (2020 and 2021) to inform members of the community how to properly care for a no-till, no chemical garden. This year, we also added a presentation on how to store and save seeds for the next planting season, and a presentation on what community members can do to help the pollinator population in our area. This meeting was open to anyone in surrounding communities as well. An article was published recently in Lucette's Gazette, giving more information on the Community Garden.
In Fall 2007, early in the city's comprehensive planning process, the City held two, half-day Natural Step workshops to raise awareness of sustainability issues and to discuss opportunities of how Mahtomedi could integrate principles of sustainability into the Comprehensive Plan.
In March the city began adding a GreenStep Royalton to its city newsletter as a way to educate residents about energy efficiency measures the city is taking and offer ways for residents to adopt a green lifestyle also.
The City held a visioning session in preparation for the re-write of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan 2018-2028. Information from the sessions are included in the plan.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
More people are aware that Royalton is a GreenStep City and understand how they too can make energy efficient changes in their homes/businesses.
More people provided guidance and input for the comprehensive plan 2018-2028
e. The City of Shoreview hosted “Creating Communities for All Ages: Generational Differences and Similarities” in May 2013.
During this event, attendees participated in a conversation while learning about generational differences and how individuals in our communities feel welcomed.
Our goal is to bring people who live, work, attend school and/or worship in the northern suburbs of Ramsey County together to engage in a dialogue that bridges differences and builds greater understanding across generations, to promote cooperation and community unity.
The Shoreview Community Foundation and Roseville Human Rights Commission joined the Shoreview Human Rights Commission in organizing and sponsoring the City’s fourth Community Dialogue.
Over the past year the City of Wyoming has been working on a Master Park and Trail Plan. We utilized many community engagement and outreach sessions to get ideas on how to make our parks better and more sustainable. Some key components that went into the Master Plan were ADA accessibility moving forward in parks, and increased awareness in walkability. For the sustainability piece, as we continue to develop and redevelop parks we may look at sustainable equipment and energy sources such as solar to power parks, or reused materials within out parks. This Master Plan is one of the first major plans the City has ever adopted and we are very proud to use the plan over the next several decades.