PLANNING FOR SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ACROSS THE AMERICAS
The Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) is a joint initiative of the U.S. Government together with the Governments of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Mexico, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, and also including the Organization of American States, Inter-American Development Bank, and Latin American Energy Organization.
During June 7-8, 2011, the ECPA’s Urban Planning Initiative sponsored a conference in Curitiba, Brazil on “Planning for Sustainable Economic Development Across the Americas,” hosted by the City of Curitiba and the Commercial Association of (the State of) Parana. The main organizers of this conference were Global Urban Development (GUD) and the American Planning Association, in partnership with the City of Curitiba and the U.S. State Department.
This conference highlighted the potential for people, places, and organizations to grow businesses, jobs, and incomes through Sustainable Economic Development Strategies that promote earning and saving more money by conserving and reusing resources more efficiently. Through such strategies, sub-national economies (states, provinces, regions, districts, cities, counties, towns, villages, and communities) can literally “get richer by becoming greener.”
Curitiba, beginning in the 1960s under the dynamic and visionary leadership of keynote speaker and GUD Vice Chair Jaime Lerner, who served for two decades as Mayor of Curitiba and Governor of Parana, has generated substantial economic growth by improving urban quality of life through innovative land-use and transportation planning and related environmental and social initiatives. One of Curitiba’s innovations, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), has become a model for sustainable urban development and mobility planning in many cities and regions worldwide.
The conference featured presentations on Curitiba from Mayor Luciano Ducci; Eduardo Guimaraes, Municipal Secretary of International Relations; Edson Ramon, President of the Commercial Association of Parana (ACP); Rodrigo Loures, President of the Federation of Industries of Parana (FIEP); Clever de Almeida, President of Curitiba’s Institute of Urban Planning and Research (IPPUC); and from several other urban and regional business, government, and civic leaders from Curitiba and Parana.
The conference began with welcoming remarks from Cid Blanco, Jr., Director of Cultural Infrastructure at the Government of Brazil’s Ministry of Culture, and Stewart Sarkozy-Banoczy, Director of Philanthropic Research and Initiatives at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Marc Weiss, GUD Chairman and CEO, provided an overview of the evolution and current framework for Sustainable Economic Development Strategies, including the strategy GUD recently completed for Sarasota County, Florida, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. This presentation was followed by summaries of four key strategies currently being implemented in the U.S.: San Antonio’s Mission Verde plan, San Jose’s Green Vision, the Portland Metro Climate Prosperity Project, and the State of Delaware’s Clean Energy Economic Strategy.
In addition, the two-day event included presentations from Buenos Aires, Argentina; Mexico City, Mexico; Georgetown, Guyana; the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council (Fort Myers, FL); and from Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
The City of Curitiba and the Commercial Association of Parana are planning to work with GUD to organize and host a follow-up international conference on Sustainable Economic Development to be held in Curitiba during the spring of 2013. Possible co-sponsors might also include the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the ECPA, and the International Economic Development Council.
Five of the presentations at the Curitiba conference can be accessed here: