On September 2, 2021, Sustainable Cities Network Director Anne Reichman and several Arizona city panelists participated in the AZ League of Cities & Towns Conference session “Resilient Cities & Towns: Reducing Risks and Seizing Opportunities.” During the session, the panelists touched on the importance of climate action planning for both small and large communities, integration of equity, and program improvements in the areas of transportation (EVs), solid waste, sustainable tourism and much more.
Mesa Vice Mayor Jen Duff and Environment and Sustainability Department Director Scott Bouchie kicked off the panel discussing the city’s new climate action plan that focuses on four areas: carbon neutrality, renewable energy, materials management and community action. Mesa is working to create a closed loop system for accepting organic waste from local businesses and converting it various forms of energy and fuel to be used in the city’s trash and recycling trucks.
Councilor Ploog and Sustainability Manager McKenzie Jones from the City of Sedona highlighted the unique challenges associated with being a smaller, tourist destination community, emphasizing the importance and successes of leveraging citizen engagement to further initiatives, such those to promote and increase bike/pedestrian safety and mobility, as well as the transition to integrating and supporting electric vehicles and associated infrastructure.
Tempe Councilmember Kuby addressed the strides made by her city to address the increasing lack of affordable housing and access to various services. Central to these issues is the work Braden Kay, Tempe Sustainability Director, has focused on to increase equity, diversity and inclusion in sustainability and climate planning and policies.
SCN would like to thank the panelists who participated in the robust discussion: Councilor Ploog and Sustainability Manager McKenzie Jones from the City of Sedona, Councilmember Kuby and Sustainability Director Braden Kay from the City of Tempe, and Vice Mayor Duff and Environment and Sustainability Department Director Scott Bouchie from the City of Mesa.
AZ League of Cities & Towns hosts its annual statewide conference each August in which it brings together local officials for training, informational management sessions, important legislative updates, and common governance discussions.
“SCN is encouraged to see The League integrate more sustainability topics and discussions into its conference lineup,” said Anne Reichman, director of Sustainable Cities Network. “Arizona cities and towns are at the forefront of our Arizona’s climate challenges, as well as its ability to act and implement solutions. It’s critical local decision makers start actively integrating this into all levels of discussions and decision making.”
The League of Arizona Cities and Towns is a voluntary association of incorporated cities and towns in the state of Arizona. It provides policy and legislative advocacy, information and inquiry services, along with publications and educational programs to strengthen the quality and efficiency of municipal government. For more information, visit www.azleague.org.
The ASU Sustainable Cities Network (SCN) is an innovative education and outreach program within the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Future Laboratory, created to work with communities to strengthen sustainability in the region and across Arizona. Comprised of Arizona city, town, county and tribal community practitioners and leaders, SCN is a vehicle for sharing knowledge, identifying best practices, coordinating planning and actions, and fostering long-term partnerships. Created as a bridge between ASU research and local sustainability challenges, SCN participants and partners work together to streamline and green city operation and advance local and regional sustainability and resilience measures.
Written by Kate Hartland, SCN Program Assistant and MSUS student