The Alexandria City Council received the Eco-City Alexandria report, "Green-Ventory of City Environmental Policies, Plans, and Programs," conducted in collaboration with the Virginia Tech Eco-Studio, Urban Affairs and Planning, College of Architecture and Urban Studies, during its recent monthly legislative meeting.

The report, praised by Alexandria Mayor William D. Euille and other city council members during the meeting, is the first phase of a planning project designed to address environmental issues that have emerged in Alexandria over the last 10 years. These issues include climate change, rising energy costs, aging storm water infrastructure, Chesapeake Bay watershed protection, recycling, and green building design.

Eco-City Alexandria was initiated in January 2007, when the City of Alexandria formed its partnership with Virginia Tech to design and manage a strategic planning process for the city.

According to Professor in Practice Joseph Schilling, who is leading this effort with Professor in Practice Shelley Mastran, the initial goal was to create a new environmental action plan that would set forth environmental goals and priorities for the next 10 years. “The primary challenge is pulling together all of Alexandria’s respective plans, programs, and policies into a cohesive action plan and then coordinating its implementation across existing city departments,” said Schilling.

Graduate students who participated in phase one are: Theresa Backhus, Greg Boken, Jessica Brown, Lucian Deaton, Deanna Donahoo, Adrienne Freed, Jonathan Glassman, Sara Hamberg, who served as research assistant, Shana Johnson, Cheryl Kelly, Lesley Kordella, Zachary Larnard, Gregory Long, Roger Marcy, Stacy McMahon, and Emily Mitchell.

The Virginia Tech team was also supported by Associate Professor Kris Wernstedt, and Kathryn McCarty, adjunct community involvement professor and co-director of ADR Vantage Inc., a community involvement and facilitation firm.

In the project’s next phase, the plan is to develop an environmental charter outlining the city’s environmental vision and principles, draft an environmental action plan for the city, and facilitate an environmental summit—a public forum for residents, scheduled for May 10, 2008, at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria.

“We have been asked by city officials to continue our work through the spring semester and, looking ahead, there may also be opportunities through the summer months,” said Schilling. “We couldn’t be more pleased with the positive response to our report and are very proud of our students’ diligent work and commitment to this important environmental project.”

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