Durham Wants to Be Greener. Here's How the City Plans to Do It. | News
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Monday, March 5, 2018

Durham Wants to Be Greener. Here's How the City Plans to Do It.

Posted by on Mon, Mar 5, 2018 at 8:05 PM

Durham now has a Sustainability Road Map to follow to a greener future.

The Durham City Council on Monday night adopted the plan, which lays out seven areas of focus with short and long-term measures of success, as well as ways residents can help meet the city's sustainability goals.

The focus areas are: arts and community, built environment, climate and energy, economy and jobs, natural systems, equity and empowerment and innovation.

"It really broadens my idea of what I think of as sustainability," said Mayor Steve Schewel, during a recent presentation of the plan to City Council. "I don’t think a lot of people think of arts as being part of sustainability but it is."
click to enlarge Stats from the city of Durham's 2017 sustainability report. - CITY OF DURHAM
  • City of Durham
  • Stats from the city of Durham's 2017 sustainability report.

As part of the plan, the city will produce a sustainability progress report every other year. The city put out its first sustainability report last year.

"The plan is both a commitment at the local municipality level to doing our part to ensure shared economic prosperity, a healthy environment, and an equitable society in Durham as well as an invitation to residents of Durham, local business owners, nonprofit leaders, and community groups to join in this important work," a staff memo reads.

Among the measures laid out in the Sustainability Road Map:

  • Demonstrate that 65 percent of residents live within a ten-minute walk of public parkland by 2020 and 70 percent by 2040.
  • Reduce daily vehicle miles traveled per capita to thirty-four by 2020 and thirty by 2040.
  • Create a fundable action plan towards carbon neutrality in City operations by 2040.
  • Reduce the per household amount of residential solid waste that goes to the landfill by 10 percent by 2020 and total residential solid waste that goes to the landfill by 50 percent by 2040. (Last year's sustainability report found that about two-thirds of waste from single-residential homes could be diverted, including recyclable materials, food waste and other compostable items.
  • Reduce potable residential per capita water use by 10 percent by 2040. (Durham residents use an average fifty-four gallons of water per day, compared with the statewide average of seventy).
  • Increase total employment in the clean technology and energy sector by 20 percent by 2040.
  • Demonstrate that city hiring for staff and leadership positions reflect the diversity of the community by 2025.
  • Achieve and maintain a city-wide tree canopy coverage of 55 percent by 2040. (The city currently has 52 percent tree canopy).
  • Increase square footage of public and private land converted to habitat suitable for pollinators by 1,000 square feet, on average, each year by 2040.

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