Santa Monica is the winner of the 2012 Siemens Sustainable Community Award in the midsize community category (population 50,000-150,000). Santa Monica and fellow 2012 Sustainable Communities Chicago, Illinois (large community category) and Purcellville, Virginia (small community category) were chosen from among 132 communities across 40 states to become this year’s winners. Awards were announced April 17 at the U.S. Chamber Business Civic Leadership Center (BCLC) National Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The three communities honored were applauded for their focus on a multi-disciplinary approach to sustainability, which has positively impacted local businesses and enhanced the quality of life among its citizens.
“We’re honored and energized to be the winners of the Siemens Sustainable Community Award,” said Mayor Richard Bloom. “Our Sustainable City Plan sets ambitious goals that guide our decisions, and provides a model for other communities that wish to become more sustainable. It’s something we all have to work together to do, and Santa Monica and our fellow sustainable communities have shown that we’re up to the challenge.”
Mayor Pro Tem Gleam Davis was on hand in Atlanta to accept the award. “Santa Monica is very excited to win the Siemens award. It’s important to us because we feel we’ve taken on a leadership role not only in protecting the natural environment, but in developing a sustainable community that’s more livable for everyone. Being honored in this regard makes us proud of the efforts we’ve made so far, and inspires us to work even harder in the future.”
Santa Monica’s award application focused on integrating goals and principles of its Sustainable City Plan into a wide range of city operations, services and strategic planning initiatives, including the recently adopted Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE). Judges noted Santa Monica’s excellence in setting strategic citywide goals that are reinforced across multiple planning areas, such as resource conservation, economic growth, open space and land use, housing, transportation, civic participation, and human services. The judging panel included five academic, community development, and media professionals.
“What these communities have done so well, is use sustainability as a lever to overall community success, instead of as a stand-alone program to pursue specific environmental outcomes,” said Siemens’ Alison Taylor. “This holistic approach is a truer indicator of a community’s sustainability.”
The U.S. Chamber BCLC and Siemens created the Sustainable Community Awards in 2008 to give rise to U.S. communities that are taking proactive steps to improve quality of life, be a steward of the environment, and increase the ability to sustain a successful community for generations to come. As part of the award, Santa Monica will receive $20,000 worth of trees from the Alliance for Community Trees.
Full information about the awards program, including reactions from each of the winning communities and members of the judging panel, is available on the Siemens Sustainable Community Awards website: http://bclc.uschamber.com/sustainablecommunityawards.