Throughout the United States and Canada the fields of public Sustainability and Economic Development are converging. The SED Network Organization and Sustainable Systems is positioned at this convergence.

Getting Richer by Becoming Greener

Increasingly, city, county, and regional Sustainability professionals are coming to understand that it is essential to address the business development, job creation, and place making dimensions of Sustainability and Climate Action initiatives.

At the same time, Economic Development professionals are recognizing the importance of clean tech businesses, energy and resource efficiency for all businesses, eco-smart real estate development, and green jobs.

Likewise, elected officials and city, county, and state administrators are discovering the wisdom of integrating Sustainability and Economic Development so that places “get richer by becoming greener”.

The Field of Sustainable Economic Development

As this convergence proceeds, a new field – Sustainable Economic Development (SED) – is emerging that is evolving effective bodies of practice, clear policy alternatives, and coherent conceptual frameworks.

A number of places have undertaken explicit Sustainable Economic Development Strategies, including: San Jose/Silicon Valley, California; San Antonio, Texas; Metropolitan Portland, Oregon/Washington; and the state of Delaware.  Some places, such as Burlington, Vermont, have been following this approach for decades.

Other places, such as Chicago, Illinois and Vancouver, British Columbia, are incorporating Economic Development into their Sustainability and/or Climate Action Plans to address the economic implications of the promotion of: energy efficiency; clean, renewable energy production; multi-modal transportation; waste reduction and pollution prevention; and climate change mitigation.

The SED Network 

The SED Network is a project of Global Urban Development (GUD) established to further the convergence of sustainability and economic development. Including:

  • Discussions of SED conceptual frameworks and best practices.
  • Presentations of some profiles of places that have undertaken explicit Sustainable Economic Development Strategies.
  • A Blog.
  • A Twitter feed, presenting SED related news from various sources.

The SED Network is managed by James Nixon, President of Global Urban Development and Principal of Sustainable Systems.  He can be reached at