Woodrow W. Clark II, MA3, Ph.D. is a co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for his work on the UN IPCC. Until recently he was a Lecturer at the UC Riverside (UCR) Anderson School in Sustainable Development and Executive Director of the Alternative Energy Center at UCR Heckmann School for International Entrepreneurship (MBA program) http://heckmann.ucr.edu/ as well as Lecturer at University of California, Los Angeles, Business School and International Studies. He is a "qualitative economist" and has published dozens of peer reviewed articles. His book in 2004 on the California energy crisis (Agile Energy Systems, 2004 with now deceased, Professor Ted Bradshaw, University of California, Davis) has won much acclaim due to its insights and solutions for energy de-regulation. His last book, Qualitative Economics: Toward a Science of Economics (with Professor Michael Fast, AAlborg University Coxmoor Press, 2008) set the stage for a new definition of the economics discipline.
Clark was Senior Energy Advisor to Governor Davis and Deputy Director of the Office of Policy and Research (OPR) with a focus on Renewable Energy, Emerging Technologies, Finance and Economic Development. During the 1990s, Clark was Manager of Strategic Planning, Energy Directorate, at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Adjunct Professor, University of California, Davis in Applied Sciences. After his Fulbright Fellowship (1994) in Entrepreneurship at AAlborg University in Denmark, in 1999 he became a Visiting Professor, International Entrepreneurship, AAlborg University, Denmark. Due to the “recall” of Governor Davis, Clark founded Clark Strategic Partners (2004) in Los Angeles, California where clients (2007) included: Energy Director, Los Angeles Community College District; Senior Fellow, Milken Institute; Senior Foreign Energy Advisor, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (IMAR), Peoples Republic of China (PRC): Senior Advisor, Green Valley Initiative (San Bernardino and Riverside Counties; and Sustainable Development Director, Paramount Studios.
For most Americans especially politicians, the starting point for concern over global warming and climate change happened in the Spring of 2007 when former USA Vice President Al Gore won an Academy Award for his “documentary” film on the topic called “An Inconvenient Truth” and then later in the year as co-winner of the Noble Peace Prize (December 2007). Indeed that awareness is the key reason why scholars and a few political leaders have been concerned for decades over the issues of global warming and climate change. The reason that the other co-winner of the Noble Peace Prize were the hundreds of scientists who worked on UN Inner-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Reports over the last decade. Sustainable Communities, the book, is “The Sequel” to An Inconvenient Truth.
Gore himself has been involved with the subject since the early 1980s. However, people aware of global warming and climate change also wanted to stop it and reverse the problem through “sustainable development”. Hence they would often make reference to former Norwegian Prime Minister Brundtland’s Report on Sustainable Development for the United Nations as the starting point for modern day concerns and actions.
"...to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." (Brundtland Report (1987:43)
While many would argue correctly that the definition of sustainable development in the Brundtland Report was broad and vague, it nonetheless stimulated international concerns with four topics and how they are intertwined around the concept of sustainable development: environment, economics, natural resources and human activities like transportation, building and their waste.
Due to these global concerns, many nations and now regions, states, communities, cities and today business, colleges and non-profit organizations have developed their own policies for energy efficiency and conservation as well as to increase renewable energy power generation, for example, as part of the solution to response and solve climate change. Since the primary infrastructure sectors that impact global warming are energy and transportation, they must be examined in order to find ways to reverse the warming of the earth. This book focuses on the policies, methodologies, technologies and practice in analysing such coherent sustainable energy and transportation systems as specifically implemented in a variety of communities throughout the world.
If there is any one lesson from the global energy crises world wide (that is, in terms of supply and costs), then it is leaving energy, water, environment or waste, among other infrastructure sectors to the " market" or “competitive forces” of supply and demand is bad public policy (Clark and Bradshaw, 2004). The predictable results were private sector monopolies would seek to control energy supply. Governments cannot allow markets and hence private monopolies to control vital infrastructure sectors like energy. In short, public utility monopolies should not be traded or eliminated in order to allow for private monopolies. The result in the early part of the 21st Century, were many companies like Enron.
The book covers fifteen cases or chapters about actual international sustainable communities that are either built or under construction. The communities range from small towns to large regions and including areas of cities including colleges. The book starts off with an Introduction and Overview about what sustainable development is. However, it is immediately followed up with a chapter on the role of leadership in developing sustainable communities (Rosen). The key issue in any community of whatever definitional size is the leadership from business, community and political decision makers. Following right after that is chapter two that gives a great example of political leadership in action: the Los Angeles Community College District. Starting with public policies for having sustainable campuses based upon the USGBC LEED (Leadership in Energy, Environment and Design) program, the voters approved three bond measures for over $6.1 billion since 2001 to make each of the nine campuses energy independent and carbon neutral.
There are also examples of Sustainable Cities such as Communities and Villages (Stoner) are highlighted in the USA. Many of these communities (like Portland, Oregon) have lead the way for sustainability through LEED buildings but also larger infrastructure areas including water, waste, transportation and related areas such as telecom. In the fourth chapter, Magar provides some examples of existing communities who are designing ways to be sustainable such as bike and walk pathways. A classic and often cited case in point is the Santa Monica City whose Sustainable Plan in Action is the subject of chapter five (McEneaney). And the City, in fact, believes in accountability so issues an annual Report Card whose most recent Grade is a C-.
The City and County of San Francisco are always seen as progressive. Chapter six (Dugar) provides several examples of that using renewable energy practices ranging from solar panels for public buildings to geothermal energy for colleges. However, communities also can be seen in public areas such as K-12 Education such as chapter eight emphases (Radulovich). The private sector must be seen as being sustainable to and Google’s Clean Energy Plan 2030 in chapter nine is a great case of that (Jensen). Aside from Google having solar panels on almost all of its corporate headquarters roofs, the company has plug-in electric stations for vehicles. In short sustainability is not just buildings but also transportation.
Perhaps one of the leading nations in the world for creating Sustainable Communities is the UK where some examples are given in chapter nine (Bonham-Carter). The examples of buildings include how the buildings are designed for maximizing air-flows, temperatures and natural sunlight rather than focusing too much on technologies and gadgets. Sustainable Towns and Regions already exit throughout the world. Other examples in Europe include Denmark with the case of Frederikshavn (Northern Jutland) in chapter ten (Lund) whose goals is to be 100% energy independent by 2020. The community as of 2010 is half way there and may even meet its goal much earlier.
Regions are also significant sustainable communities such as the Piedmont Region in Northern Italy in chapter eleven (Asola) which includes Torino. The chapter was written by a senior executive in the power utility (ASM) located in Settimo which very progressive and forward thinking. Other sustainable regions in the EU and other parts of the world are hard to find. Most nations do not even consider sustainable development as a liable public policy. Lithuania in chapter twelve is the exception (Lepkova). While there is much to do, the national agenda in Lithuania is focused on sustainability. Here a nation pursues the strategies, goals and plans leading to sustainability.
The last three case studies are from Asia. Rizhao in China represents the “Green Beacon for Sustainable Chinese Cities” as discussed in chapter thirteen (Kwan). China now ranked the world’s number one greenhouse gas emissions nation recognizes its need to clean up its regions and communities. The case of Jiaxing Municipality near Shanghia is another case in China covered in chapter fourteen (Weiyi). The chapter looks particularly at the ecological construction and hence sustainable development in China which will most likely be expressed nationally in the next five year plan for the entire nation.
The last case is chapter fifteen which focuses on the Japanese experience with efforts at the community level towards a sustainable economy (Funaki). While most scholars, planners and policy makers focus on Europe or the North America for examples of sustainable development, Japan has really been the leader for decades. With its long history since the American Black Ships came in the mid-nineteenth century through today for the need to be independent in terms of fuel, economics and production, Japan has focused on its buildings, transportation and infrastructures to be sustainable. In many ways, the Japanese have no choice.
This brings us to the Conclusion (Clark) and a series of Appendices that provide some more generic detailed data on sustainable communities along with diagrams, charts and photos. Appendix A does this with a focus on the Los Angeles Community College District (Clark) while Appendix B looks as two Spanish Cities (Easley). Finally Appendix C provides some design and planning materials on sustainable cities from one of the world leading engineering and architecture firms in this field, ARUP (Whittaker). By providing community design and planning materials, a more global overview and perspective on sustainable development is provided.
Brundtland Report, “Sustainable Development” Oxford University Press, 1987.
Clark, Woodrow W. II and Ted Bradshaw. Agile Energy Systems: global lessons from the California Energy Crisis. Elsevier Press, London, UK (October 2004).
Clark, Woodrow W. II and Michael Fast. Qualitative Economics: Toward a Science of Economics. Coxmoor Press, London, UK (2008).