It was 10 years ago when I left the Delaware River Basin Commission as Deputy Executive Director to become the Director of the Center for Sustainable Communities (CSC). A lot has happened since 2001.
Despite tough times and economic crises, sustainability as a concept and goal has become much more accepted in our communities. We believe that our work at the CSC has contributed towards that acceptance. The Philadelphia region has become a wonderful laboratory for conducting research and promoting sustainability through education and outreach. But our work is far from complete.
The CSC actually predated me by a year. In July of 2000, Temple University established the CSC to promote the development and management of sustainable communities through effective land use planning, ecological restoration, and community revitalization initiatives. Since its inception, the Center has secured over $8 million in research grants to fund projects consistent with this mission.
Our researchers take pride in doing cutting-edge, applied research. When we do research, we try to push the envelope, add an additional level of precision and innovation. For example, our floodplain mapping studies and stormwater assessments far exceed agency requirements. We adapt and refashion computer models and analytical tools to enable community leaders to make better decisions.
Our goals for the future include expanding our research initiatives in the three pillars of sustainability – economic development, environmental quality, and social well being.
A key emphasis will be enabling public, private, and nonprofit groups to implement programs meeting the triple bottom line: becoming greener, improving the economy and enhancing the quality of life. Conducting triple bottom line analyses will become even more critical as we seek to reduce our carbon footprints with scarcer financial resources. And we will also forge more partnerships with the goal of leveraging our resources to meet the challenges of the future.