The Partnership for a Green City is the first of its kind in the country and represents a collaborative effort to improve sustainability internally and in the community by four of Louisville's largest public entities: Louisville Metro Government, University of Louisville, the Jefferson County Public Schools and Jefferson Community & Technical College. It began with three partners in August 2004, as a major step toward overcoming challenges to Louisville's environmental practices. JCTC joined the Partnership in 2012. Together, the partner agencies employ over 30,000 people, enroll over 135,000 students, own more than 531 buildings with 30 million square feet of space, operate and maintain 7,000 fleet vehicles, and manage 25,135 acres of land in Louisville Metro, which is one-tenth of the land in the merged city-county. Through the coordination of efforts and cooperation, the Partnership has been able to realize real results that will have long-term impact on the health, education, and well-being of our citizens while improving and institutionalizing environmental practices within the organizations themselves.
One of the first tasks of the Partnership was to create a Statement of Environmental Principles, adopted by the original three partners. The principles provide a foundation to increase awareness of, and identify, what each of us can do to support sustainable practices. The goal is to promote transition, through behavior change, toward an environmentally sustainable community.
The Partnership for a Green City has been described as “a model based on bottom-up collaboration, top-down support, stated goals and objectives and a focused plan of action.” The process has convened peers from each public entity to share ideas and address problems. Peer pressure, rather than top-down decision-making, has produced significant changes in operating procedures within each partner. Over 150 employees participate on Partnership teams, which consult with external individuals or organizations to receive additional assistance.
Collaboration allows the partners to take advantage of resources that were previously unavailable, such as professional expertise, services and contracts. It also increases educational opportunities, creates cost-savings opportunities, and enables efficiencies of scale through collective purchasing power. Partners enable each other to expand programs and services to their constituencies and to the community in general, and be better stewards of tax dollars. The bottom line is healthier, more knowledgeable citizens and more efficient public institutions.
Director, Partnership for a Green City
UofL Urban Studies Institute
426 W. Bloom Street, Room 219
Louisville, KY 40208
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