Durham Debuts First-Ever Sustainability Roadmap

Durham Debuts First-Ever Sustainability Roadmap

City Unveils Long-Term Sustainability Vision and Invites Residents to Join the Effort

The City of Durham now has a roadmap for how it wants to work toward making the Bull City an environmentally, socially, and economically healthy and resilient community now and for future generations.

On March 5, Durham City Council adopted the City’s first-ever Sustainability Plan. Since that time, the City’s General Services Department has been working to expand the plan, and is now ready to debut the new Sustainability Roadmap.

The Roadmap, located under ‘Reports’ on the department’s Sustainability & Energy webpage at https://durhamnc.gov/822/Sustainability-Energy-Management, broadens the City’s definition of sustainability, laying out seven goals across social, economic, and environmental impact areas. The plan sets achievable, but aspirational targets to measure progress over the short-term (through the year 2020) and long-term (through the year 2040), along with priority strategies to help reach these goals.

“The Sustainability Roadmap is intended to define sustainable operations for the City, set a long-term shared vision, and a path toward achieving that vision,” said General Services Department Director Steven Hicks. “We believe this plan will help guide decision-making and inspire collaboration across divisions and departments to make a collective impact on the important, long-term goals addressed in the plan.”

The City’s Sustainability Goals are as follows:

  • Arts & Community: Advance and reinforce opportunities that celebrate #DURM culture.
  • Built Environment: Achieve equitable access and choice to resilient infrastructure that supports a high quality of life for all residents and enhances the environment.
  • Climate & Energy: Lead the way in addressing climate change by minimizing energy use and increasing community and local government resource efficiency.
  • Economy & Jobs: Maximize equitably shared prosperity for local small and diverse businesses and inclusive access to quality jobs with fair livable wages.
  • Natural Systems: Protect and restore Durham’s natural resources and ecosystem.
  • Innovation: Embrace a culture of innovation to ensure a more sustainable community.
  • Equity & Empowerment: Engage and empower residents to advance equity, inclusion, and equal access to opportunities and services.

Examples of goals addressed in the plan include reducing daily vehicle miles per capita, promoting the creative industries, increasing resident engagement opportunities in local decision making, improving the fuel economy of the City fleet, and reducing the amount of waste sent to the landfill. “These sustainability planning efforts will help better align our services, programs, and spending with Durham’s vision for a more sustainable and resilient future,” said Project Manager Erin Victor with the General Services Department.

According to Victor, Durham has long been regarded as a leader in the sustainability field, implementing state-of-the-art environmental programs since the 1980s. The new roadmap builds on the Sustainability Report published in June 2017, the STAR Community Certification, which is a comprehensive third-party data-driven assessment, and an extensive public engagement process. “After a year-long, cross-departmental planning process, we are excited to finally unveil the Sustainability Roadmap,” said Victor. “It’s both a commitment to doing our part and an invitation to residents of Durham, local business owners, nonprofit leaders, and community groups to join us in this important work.”

For more information on how the General Services Department is working toward sustainability and energy management, and how residents can become involved in this effort, visit the department’s webpage or contact Hicks at (919) 560-4197 or by email at [email protected].

About the City of Durham General Services Department

The General Services Department builds and maintains City properties to make Durham a great place for people to live, work, and play. Guided by the City’s Strategic Plan, the department’s core functions include the acquisition and sale of properties, design and management of new construction and renovation projects, building maintenance, landscaping and urban forestry services, cemeteries management, sustainability and energy management, and supporting the nonprofit Keep Durham Beautiful.