Smart Growth and Sustainability: Principles and Practices
To be successful and to ensure a resilient, prosperous America in the twenty-first century, sustainable development professionals will need to understand the many forces driving our land use and development patterns, forces that cut across geography, disciplines, fields and sectors – from global warming to globalization, housing to transportation, energy to economic development, public policy to politics. They will need to be prepared to work in and among many different contexts – urban and rural, commercial and residential, agricultural and recreational – and social groups – affluent and low-income, from an increasingly rich mix of ethnic and racial backgrounds. And most importantly, emerging sustainable development professionals will need a new mind- and skill-set capable of integrating the economic, social and environmental goals that define sustainability. Like never before, they will be called upon to design new business models, policies and strategies, to join profitability, community and ecology in a bold development vision tailored to the needs of a radically changing region in a radically changing world.
Working in teams, students will research, develop and present a new business or public policy plan for sustainable land use or development. Using collective insights, skills and social values, each team will “incorporate” itself as either a for- or non-profit business or government agency/program and, from there, develop and propose a plan for a social innovation product, service or policy that promotes smart growth and sustainability.
The Social Innovation
The social innovation can be a technology, public policy, financial product or real estate development project, among other innovations. Borrowing from the commercial innovation field, a social innovation can be defined as any new product, process, service, enterprise, or system that boosts performance of any given community system (e.g., education, energy, housing, land use, transportation) by at least 40-50 percent. Social innovations deliver much more than the incremental “continuous improvement” many successful organizations achieve and the vague “better results” many nonprofits seek. Innovations are breakthroughs and their impact is measurable. Moreover, a social innovation should only be considered successful when it is both financially sustainable and scalable, meaning it has a predictable flow of revenue and is not heavily dependent on conditions in a particular context.
Each team should organize itself according to the skills, talents and interests of each member, assigning different roles and functions based on each individuals’ strengths and interests, as if in a company or any other organization. You should assign job titles and responsibilities to each member, including a CEO or Executive Director, Research Director, Marketing Director, Policy Director and the like.
In the form of a business plan, each team should develop a company or organizational name and mission statement, a market analysis and case statement, a description of the innovation, a proposed budget, a description of the management team and proposed advisory board/board of directors.
Group 2: Sustainable Community and Health Agency