An ad hoc committee will conduct a study by using examples from metropolitan regions to understand how sustainability practices could contribute to the development, growth and regeneration of major metropolitan regions in the United States. The study will provide a paradigm that incorporates the social, economic, and environmental systems that exist in metropolitan regions that are critical in the transition to sustainable metropolitan regions. This paradigm could then serve as a blueprint for other regions with similar barriers to and opportunities for sustainable development and redevelopment. As part of its evidence-gathering process, the committee will organize a series of public data-gathering meetings in different metropolitan regions to examine issues relating to urban sustainability. Likely topics to be addressed include: path dependencies, biophysical constraints, energy, natural resource management, climate adaptation, economic development, hazard mitigation, public health, social equity, and land use considerations. The committee will develop an agenda for each meeting in consultation with regional stakeholders (e.g. academia, industry, city/county governments), so that the invited presentations and discussions can reflect place-based knowledge and approaches to sustainability.
The committee will focus on:
- How national, regional, and local actors are approaching sustainability, and specifically, how they are maximizing benefits and managing tradeoffs among social, environmental, and economic objectives;
- How stakeholders (e.g. industry, city/county governments, universities, public groups) can better integrate science, technology, and research into catalyzing and supporting sustainability initiatives;
- The commonalities, strengths, and gaps in knowledge among rating systems that assess the sustainability of metropolitan regions; and
- A paradigm that would incorporate the critical systems needed for sustainable development in metropolitan regions.
In carrying out this charge and preparing its report with findings and recommendations, the study committee will:
- Describe and assess the linkages among research and development, hard and soft infrastructure, and innovative technology for sustainability in metropolitan regions;
- Describe the countervailing factors that inhibit or reduce regional sustainability and resilience and identify steps that can be taken to reverse or mitigate the factors;
- Describe and assess the future economic drivers, as well as the assets essential to and barriers that hinder sustainable development and redevelopment; and
- Examine how federal, state and local agency and private sector efforts and partnerships can complement/leverage the efforts of key stakeholders and assess of the role of public and private initiatives that may serve as a model for moving forward.