Sustainable Communities

The Department of Environmental Studies and Planning is pleased to announce its new Center for Sustainable Communities. The “CSC” will encompass the work of Sonoma State’s Environmental Technology Center, but will refocus and expand that role. The CSC will reflect how communities are rising to the challenges of sustainable development and will take advantage of the unique strengths of ENSP faculty, staff, and students.

The Environmental Technology Center was originally established to demonstrate the applicability of green building technologies and has filled this role for local governments, builders, and designers. The ETC has hosted conferences and workshops, been the site for Congressional Hearings on energy, and provided a wide variety of support and training services for local non-profits, communities, government agencies and other organizations.

But, as times have changed, communities are increasingly looking to broaden and deepen their commitments to sustainability – sometimes because the community demands it and sometimes because of state mandates.

However, while the spirit is often present, in many cases communities do not have the resources to develop and implement sustainability programs. A prime example is the current concern over limiting green house gas emissions and the related interest in adopting and implementing green building strategies.

The CSC will support local sustainability efforts, playing to ENSP’s curricular, research, and community service strengths – energy management and design, green building, community and environmental planning, environmental conservation and restoration, sustainable landscaping, water quality, environmental education – and our long history of working with local governments and community groups.

The CSC will:

  • Provide training on sustainability topics (workshops, multi-session programs, potentially online programs) for local governments and other organizations, such as:
    • local government approaches to reducing green house gas emissions
    • green building
    • land use planning and public health
  • Work with communities to develop policy documents and implementation programs
  • Expand our program of service learning for Environmental Studies and Planning students, giving them new opportunities to work with local communities

We look forward to supporting the movement toward more sustainable communities. If you have any questions, contact Alex Hinds, Interim Director of the Center for Sustainable Communities, at hindsa@sonoma.edu.