Greenworks Philadelphia

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Greenworks Philadelphia

Postby StephanieCutts » Wed May 27, 2009 1:01 pm

Philadelphia found a green lining in the economic crisis cloud. The Greenworks Philadelphia initiative that Nutter unveiled in his speech at the Franklin Institute last weel will fulfill his election campaign pledge to “green” the city. Greenworks sets objectives in five areas -- energy, environment, equity, economy and engagement -- and lists 15 goals that the administration plans to reach by 2015­a date that Mark Alan Hughes hopes the public takes note of­and holds them to.

"These targets have all been set in a way that we can hold ourselves accountable," Hughes, the city’s first director of sustainability, told the Inquirer. "This is not a ‘2025’ or ‘2050’ plan, where when politicians are talking about 2025 or 2050, they’re really trying to avoid talking about something else."

If all goes according to plan, by 2015 every resident will be within 10 minutes of a park. There will be 300,000 newly planted trees, 70 percent of city’s solid waste won’t end up in a landfill, 15 % of all homes will be weatherized and that’s just the beginning.There are over 100 green initiatives listed in Greenworks that detail Philly’s journey to become one of America’s Greenest Skylines.

New York might also be joining the hybrid bandwagon. Michael Bloomberg’s dreams of wind power could be realized sooner than expected. Obama’s plans to develop offshore wind power projects are moving into the near future thanks to a recent rule change. City localized green projects are a tangible step towards a greener nation.

State government stimulus packages include funds specifically allocated for energy efficient improvements. Nutter is expecting a portion of the state’s $259 million federal stimulus funds as well as $14.1 million from a grant to help realize Greenworks’s goals by 2015.

One of Greenworks’s most recession-friendly objectives is to double the number of “green collar” jobs in the city from 14,379 to 28,800. Randal cited manufacturing wind-turbines as one example of the new green collar jobs.

The Philadelphia green attempts are reminscent of another Utopian vision that the city has tried to pursue -- giving all of tis residents access to free, high-speed Wi-Fi Internet connections. Though it was widely reported that investor Earthlink pulled out of the deal, the Philly Wi-Fi project continues and free Wi-Fi is available throughout the city, it's just not being heavily promoted and universality hasn't been achieved.

Philadelphia isn’t the only city keen on green. In 2006, Portland, Oregon was named the greenest city in the US and last October, Mayor Chuck Reed announced San José’s Green Vision, his city’s quest to be a sustainable city thriving on 100% renewable energy and clean living. Outside of the U.S., and thinking on a larger scale is Vancouver. This summer, Mayor Gregor Robinson will be releasing a 10-year action plan to make Vancouver the greenest city in the world by 2023.

Washington is rumored to have a $400 million prize competition for the greenest city in the works and Philadelphia, currently #8, should expect oxygen-rich run for their money. Like Randal says though, there’s nothing better than competing to be the greenest.
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