The City of Cincinnati

Through its focus on sustainability, the ever-growing city of Cincinnati has also fostered the evolution of professional partnerships through environmental initiatives. 

In terms of the city’s plans for effective sustainability; that is, accepting practices to decrease its negative effect on the planet and operate with greater eco-sensitivity, Cincinnati began being one of the main trail blazers in the country while some communities were still struggling to figure out a green way. The fun city had established an Office of Environmental Management more which pursued answers for our future environmental problems and benefitted from support of city leadership, but in 2003, financial issues intermixed with political pressures forced the office and all its potential, to suddenly get shut down.
A couple years later, Mark Mallory (a former Member of the Ohio House of Representatives and Ohio State Senate) ran for city Mayor and promised to reinstate the abruptly closed office. After winning the local election, he satisfied that oath and established what is recognized today as Cincinnati’s Office of Environmental Quality. That choice has not only helped decrease yearly city operating prices in the millions, it’s also led to new occupations and better opportunities for the city to gain further aids vital to its upcoming days.
A Blessing or a Curse?
Larry Falkin, the Director of Cincinnati’s Office of Environmental Quality, states that in order to truly talk sustainability, one must know that it is “a place-based discussion.” He says native issues dictate that sustainability never means the exact same thing everywhere. When it comes to environmental sustainability plans in Cincinnati, Larry states that it is the public that is almost cursed by its own blessings. To put that into a broader context, take this example: In many cases, a city’s move to greater sustainability may be encouraged by serious worries of energy supply, decline of water and air quality, or other unfortunate environmental factors.
However, none of these factors are really a problem in the city of Cincinatti. “We are a city that has cheap and abundant energy supplies credited to our proximity to the rich coal fields of West Virginia and Ohio,” explains Falkin, going on to say much more about the city. So, with so much going on, the situation that might usually compel the concentration on sustainability simply doesn’t exist as urgently as it does in Cincinnati. As Falkin asserts, that creates real challenge.
“How do you make recycling competitive when landfills are so cheap? How do you make the case for renewable energy when electricity is so cheap at five cents a kilowatt hour?” asks Falkin. “And yet, we all know that sustainability is important. We’ve got to work hard to ensure whatever solutions we’re coming up with make economic sense. If the solutions don’t make economic sense, they won’t take hold,” he says.
Today, Falkin’s office has made great steps that make good economic and environmental sense. Labors have included a heightened improvement in the city’s recycling program which now sees over 70% of potential homes participating. All trash-throwers are provided with free wheeled-carts that are composed every second week, which has ultimately led to a 50% upsurge in resources diverted from landfills. The total amount savings adds up to about $600,000 to $900,000 a year.
The city has also seen a huge drop in utility costs through unique retrofits, eco-friendly building upgrades, and the installation of energy generating solar power. Cincinnati is currently increasing its collection of solar facilities, and Falkin says he expects that this will ensure that the city will capture twice as much energy output this upcoming year. The city has made a 20-year deal with the company, Solar Power and Light (SP&L). In a striking business that won’t cost the city a penny, SP&L states that they plan to build, operate and uphold solar power plants at its own expense, essentially paying for their stay out of pocket. In turn, the city will be purchasing a lot of energy from SP&L at a cost that is dramatically fewer than what it once was.
The Expectations of Change
In addition to what it has done, Cincinnati is also making strides to perfects its infrastructure as well as transportation, which will most likely result in less of a reliance on nonrenewable resources. Falkin says with hope that by 2025, the city “will be done with gas and diesel.” Recently, the city has reduced its gas consumption by over 12 percent, which Falkin calls great progress. The sprawling city is now using more green and eco-friendly vehicles like hybrids as well, but they plan to do more. Soon, Cincinnati will start creating a slue of CNG fueling stations.
The other major change expected involves public transportation. Although the city upholds a public bus system known with Metro, one initiative will lead to the establishing of a contemporary street car system, similar to the one in Portland or New Orleans. The impression is to reduce downtown traffic while growing public ridership.
The main goal is to get “train-like” performances out of the bus system in a way that riders will not only want to use it, but with enthusiasm. To achieve that, the buses will operate as an express or rapid transport, stopping only at major stops. Secondly, travelers won’t have to pay any kind of fare, but rather pay at the platform for efficiency. Passengers will also profit from the process, as it allows for signal prioritization, otherwise known as “Cue-Jumping.” Essentially what this means is that the bus system will communicate with traffic lights, gaining faster green lights.
Through its focus on sustainability, the ever-growing city of Cincinnati has also fostered the evolution of professional partnerships through environmental initiatives. Among these initiatives, what Falkin calls “an important partnership,” is Agenda 360. Established by the city’s Chamber of Commerce, the program endeavors to create a set of main concerns for the region to successfully compete for business, attract employees and produce economic growth. Falkin says with glee that the initiative embraces the idea that being a green city is vital to that effort.

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