by William Wells for SUST 210
In 2011, the village of Northbrook, IL, partnered with the Park District to develop a strategy for strategic sustainability. The plan created a framework within which the community can adhere to create a more sustainable village.
The plan was fully approved in November 2013. The strategic plan is documented here on Northbrook’s official website. The plan is broken into 5 major issues the city is seeking to increase sustainability for the community at large: Energy, Material Management, Natural Resources, Community Development, and Transportation. Each section has listed timeframes and tactics to reach stated goals, and it is clear and concise.
I chose to examine the transportation section of the plan more in depth, because many suburban communities have issues with sustainable transportation. According to toptransitsuburbs.com, Northbrook was named one of the 20 “top ten transit suburbs,” so their plan in fact is working! The city has six pace bus routes, 11 bike trails, 12 bike routes, a Metra stop, and 27 bike rack locations. Their overall goal? Reduce their carbon footprint by any means necessary. The Village encourages businesses to provide special parking for fuel efficient cars, or carpooling employees. The city is attempting to make it easier for bikes to safely travel around the city. The plan outlines several ways in which the city can reduce its impact by alternative means of transportation.
The Plan shows a great commitment to ally local government, local business, and local residents to make forward progress in creating a sustainable community. By having everyone on the same page, then laying out solutions to problems with time frames, promoting sustainability becomes a lot easier. Northbrook is a great role model for promoting sustainability in the suburbs of Illinois.
Each week during the Fall 2014 semester, students in Prof. Mike Bryson’s SUST 210 Sustainable Future and SUST 240 Waste classes at Roosevelt University contribute blog posts on urban and suburban sustainability issues to the Schaumburg’s Sustainable Future website.