Urban Sustainability Directors Network

In Brief

2008; 120 city directors in US/Canada; annual map


(2008, address unknown; www.usdn.org).

“A peer-to-peer network of local government professionals from cities across the US and Canada dedicated to build and strengthen the connections between members in order to quickly access each other’s knowledge and expertise to achieve scalable outcomes that produce a healthier environment, economic prosperity, and increased social equity.” Some 120 city directors are currently members. Three core objectives: 1) Networking Opportunities (USDN members work together in user groups tackling dozens of topics, e.g., expanding support and funding streams for bike sharing, integrating climate preparedness planning into city departments, and building urban food systems); 2) Collaborative Innovation System (member-generated assessments of funded strategic and productive innovations in 19 areas, e.g., the Lots of Hope program to transform vacant, city-owned lots into centers of urban agriculture and pilot small-scale composting in Providence RI neighborhoods); 3) Regional Networks (e.g., the Southeast Sustainable Directors Network of local government sustainability officials who collaborate to accelerate the adoption of sustainable best practices, e.g., the Sustainability Workplace Challenge based on a successful program implemented in Nashville.)

The Innovation Fund has grown significantly since inception, evolving into three funds that have granted over $6.6 million for >100 projects that drive innovation, scaling, and adoption of urban sustainability practices. These are high-leverage small-grants, with project size averaging less than $50,000. The Network is also a member of the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance (CNCA or “Alliance”), an international collaboration to achieve aggressive long-term carbon reduction goals. Publishes The Guide to Greening Cities, “the first book written from the perspective of municipal leaders with successful, on-the-ground experience working to advance green city goal,” and The State of Innovation in Urban Sustainability, a strategy document for the public. Staff: Appears to be primarily a volunteer organization. Co-chairs: Katherine Gajewski and Sadhu Johnston.

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