Nine ‘outstanding’ programs from around the world have been chosen as winners at the first ever Sustainable Cities Awards. According to sponsors, the Urban Land Institute and the Financial Times, the awards honour worldwide examples of initiatives that showcase new ideas and perspectives for best practice in sustainable land use. Each of the winners is incorporating initiatives that are making significant contributions in highlighting the concept of sustainability in real estate.
I can’t help but be a little confused by these awards though. On the one hand, they showcase some truly inspiring projects from around the world. On the other, it seems a little suspicious that at least two of the winners are projects with high-level involvement from companies represented on the awards panel. There is also a heavy emphasis on large-scale American projects, with at least seven of the nine winners coming from the U.S. Is this simply an indication of where the main centre’s of sustainability excellence really are, or did the panel gloss over worthy candidates from elsewhere?
Here’s the full list of winners:
The Cascade Land Conservancy for the ‘Cascade Agenda,’ a 100 year visioning exercise aimed at preserving more than 1.3 million acres of forest and farmland by using market-based tools to encourage sustainable growth across the Puget Sound region of Washington State.
The City of Chicago, which the jury felt led the world in the incorporation of sustainability practices into its own operations and the delivery of its services.
The City of Greensburg, Kansas, where, in 2007, 90% of the housing stock was destroyed by a tornado. Faced with more or less rebuilding from scratch, the citizens voted to run the reconstruction project on sustainable principles. The jury felt the city’s activities could become a globally applicable model for the reconstruction of rural communities following natural disasters.
Enterprise Community Partners for ‘Green Communities,’ which, since 2004, has invested more than $570 million to create more than 11,000 affordable green housing units (and, likely, numerous sustainable building jobs) across a hundred US cities, challenging the ethos of ‘bigger is better.’
Property management firm Jones Lang LaSalle, for its ‘Portfolio Sustainability Management Programme.’ The company is setting influential standards for the management of its own huge portfolio and those of its clients, that have become mainstream in its corporate culture.
Kennedy Associates, for ‘responsible property investing.’ The company applies a commitment to managing and developing properties according to sustainability principles across its entire $9.6 billion portfolio.
New Songdo City Master Plan – A pilot project applying cutting edge green practices in urban design, engineering, construction, infrastructure and energy systems, with a strong emphasis on reduction in carbon-use.
PNC for ‘greening PNC.’ PNC’s corporate headquarters was the first financial building to be LEED certified. The company now tops the U.S. league for LEED certifications and now has ‘green branches’ located in 41 areas.
Vulcan, for ‘creating a new model for sustainable, mixed-use urban communities.’ Vulcan has revitalized a former industrial district in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighbourhood, attracting new employers and ‘creative-class’ tenants. The jury was impressed by the company’s civic repsonsibility and social inclusion.
Image credit – Urban Land Institute