September 19, 2008 By Elaine Rundle
Atlanta is preparing to launch a new Web site, SustainableAtlanta.org, as part of an initiative to foster the city's goal of being more environmentally conscious.
The site will launch on Sept. 29 and will encourage community involvement and education on water conservation, recycling and materials management, green building and green industry. The site's goal is to educate, inform, inspire and engage the audience, said Valena Scott, director of communications and engagement for Damespointe Consulting, the management entity of Sustainable Atlanta.
"It is a portal for information to come into Sustainable Atlanta about all the great and wonderful things going on in our city, and it is also a portal for things to go out into the community," Scott said, adding that the site would feature community news and events, such as a neighborhood cleanup.
The site will be organized by a landing page that leads users to two main topics: policy for sustainability or community in action. "You can go off onto one side, which is more community focused, or to another side, which is more policy, strategy and recommendation focused," Scott said.
As part of Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin's vision for a greener city, the Sustainable Atlanta initiative was launched in early 2007 to develop solutions and recommendations to make the city more environmentally friendly.
"Mayor Franklin has a vision for the environmental sustainability of the city, and it was her charge to the city to look at what it takes for Atlanta to become an example for sustainability for other cities," Scott said.
The city and Sustainable Atlanta are promoting the portal in three ways:
To evaluate the Web site's success, Scott said there will be layers of analytics for measuring page views and user engagement. The city will also team up with BrokenCurve, a digital solutions provider, which will tell it what sites their ideal audience visits on the Internet. The company will position SustainableAtlanta.org on those pages for easy access.
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.