May 12, 2008 By News Report
Portland, Ore., will host the National League of Cities' (NLC) first Green Cities Conference and Expo, April 19-21, 2009. The conference, which will culminate in an Earth Day celebration, will bring local elected officials together from across the country to focus on the unique perspective and resources needed by cities as they "go green," as well as to share ideas and successful city programs.
"In cities across America, environmental issues aren't trendy; they are fundamental realities that alter the health, economic viability and growth of communities," said Cynthia McCollum, NLC president and council member from Madison, Ala. "Local governments are not waiting for federal action; instead they are creating new and innovative programs to address their specific communities. Portland, Ore., is the perfect location for the conference, given its commitment to green building, local food, alternative fuels, renewable energy and bike friendliness."
A comprehensive showcase of green technology, ideas and practices will be featured in the 2009 Green Cities Expo. Through panels and mobile workshops, municipal leaders and those who work with them will find everything in one place to launch or enhance green initiatives in their local communities, including access to a large and targeted group of experts, vendors, planning activities, tools and real world examples.
"In Portland and throughout Oregon, we have thousands of companies who are doing the right thing -- improving their environmental footprint and saving money," said Portland Mayor Tom Potter. "And, at the same time, we have hundreds of local firms who now sell products and services that pollute less, improve air or water quality, use energy more efficiently or create electricity from renewable sources. Sustainable industries are truly becoming the cornerstone of our economic development strategy."
Kathleen Novak, NLC 1st vice president and mayor of Northglenn, Colo., said, "We're planning a conference that will highlight the most up-to-date information and resources to build sustainable communities. We also plan to emphasize green practices during the conference, including minimizing paper, maximizing recycling, and drawing on the resources and knowledge of the host city to ensure that the conference supports the themes and messages it will be discussing."
NLC already supports city-centered "green" efforts by serving as a clearinghouse for green city practices, championing an advocacy platform (most recently in support of funding for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant), gathering research on environmental issues, and sharing the latest information about local, state and federal requirements.
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.