In 2014, City Councilmember Kriss Worthington directed the City Manager to address the digital divide by making technologies more accessible for moderate- and low-income residents of Berkeley. To discover opportunities to achieve this goal, the City of Berkeley hired Nutter Consulting to survey similar projects and initiatives that cities have undertaken across the country.
Working in partnership, Urban Sustainability Directors’ Network (USDN), DNV GL and Nutter Consulting released a procurement framework for cities, entitled Smart Cities Vendor Engagement Framework, looking to build innovative programs that leverage the potential of smart city technologies.
With the installment of the new Trump administration comes the responsibility to watchdog our climate progress, to ward off attacks on existing protections and to find new ways of advancing the climate and clean energy commitments of the past administration.
President Obama was a climate champion in many ways. The Obama administration joined over 190 countries in adopting the Paris Agreement on climate change. The Clean Power Plan has been a major driver of the clean energy conversation and has helped US companies and utilities use cleaner energy sources and strengthen commitments to cutting carbon emissions. The ban on the Dakota Access oil pipeline marked a major win for land use and clean energy. Strong action was also taken to protect our land and water resources by creating the largest marine sanctuary to date, and by protecting over 550 million new acres of land in the US.
We have now witnessed that the new administration is demonstrably unsupportive of climate change action and in his first few hours after the inauguration, the new president sent strong signals that he is planning to dismantle our national climate protection commitments. In fact, just today, the President reopened the opportunity for the Dakota Access pipeline to move forward.
At Nutter Consulting, we are committed to being a partner for cities, businesses, foundations and nonprofits that stand firm in their commitment to clean energy, smart cities, shared mobility, green infrastructure and the climate mitigation and adaptation activities underway that are helping to ensure our sustainable future, despite the shifting national political winds.
In 2016, we worked with many visionary clients on a variety of sustainability and smart cities projects to drive forward impactful innovation.
Representative client projects from 2016 include:
- Engaging with over 15 U.S. and Canadian cities of the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) to develop and publish the resource guide “Smart Cities for Sustainability: A Sector-by-Sector Tech Review” which describes the main technological interventions helping to advance sustainability goals like carbon emission reduction in the building and energy, transportation and waste sectors.
- Joining Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) and the Bay Area Council to produce the seventh annual Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM7) for the US Department of Energy, during which nearly 60 companies and NGOs and 10 subnational governments made over $1.5 billion in commitments to deploy clean energy technologies and increase energy access around the world.
- Supporting The JPB Foundation and their mission to increase access to nature for low income communities by planning and facilitating the Urban Park Leaders Summit and crafting an initial Urban Parks Funding Strategy.
Now more than ever, action at the local level matters. Cities offer the hope many of us still hold to design and implement necessary climate protection measures and will also increasingly serve as the incubators on new sustainability and smart cities concepts.
Climate action at the national level is looking bleak and we should remain diligent in holding the current administration accountable for any attempts at rollbacks. Meanwhile, our firm will continue to provide the support necessary for committed local governments and organizations working to fulfill their sustainability and equity missions. By conducting policy analysis, engaging stakeholders and utilizing new technology and data tools to green the built environment, reduce carbon emissions from the transportation system and implement zero waste programs, we will play a role in ensuring that environmental protections remain and serve all, including our most vulnerable communities.
There is clearly plenty of critical work to do in the coming months and years and we’re ready for the challenge.