Presented by Urban Age Institute and the New York Academy of Sciences
Financing an Urban Future: Report from the Conference on Sustainable City Finance
Posted March 08, 2010
To accommodate a growing world population, while conserving resources and providing for quality of life, cities must find sustainable ways to continue providing clean water, transportation, energy, and waste disposal. Converting today's cities into sustainable environments, however, will require large capital investments, cooperation between public and private organizations, and accelerated adoption of new technologies and policies.
To discuss these issues and chart a path forward, as well as to learn about novel financing mechanisms from leaders who are already implementing these methods, key stakeholders in urban planning met at the New York Academy of Sciences on January 7, 2010, for a conference on sustainable city financing presented by the Urban Age Institute and the Academy.
Use the tabs above to find a meeting report and multimedia from this event.
With support from:
For a complete list of sponsors, please click the Sponsorship tab.
- 00:011. Introduction; Major urban trends and key messages
- 04:472. National development; Economic growth; Systems of cities
- 07:293. Urban land management; Proactive planning; City system analysis
- 12:224. New urban agenda; Refining business lines; Knowledge management and partnerships
- 19:355. Q and A with audience; Conclusio
- 00:011. Introduction by Neal Peirce (Citistates Group; Washington Post Writer's Group)
- 03:012. Gary Lawrence (Ove Arup)
- 15:223. Keshav Saran Varma (The World Bank)
- 29:404. Shankar Raj Kandel (Kathmandu Metropolitan City Office, Nepal)
- 36:445. Jan Olbrycht (European Parliament - URBAN Intergroup, Belgium)
- 52:086. Q and A with audienc
- 00:011. Introduction by Robert Buckley (The Rockefeller Foundation)
- 05:142. Eduardo Rojas (Inter-American Development Bank)
- 20:303. Yan Peng (Clean Air Initiative - Asia Center, PRC)
- 36:494. Andrew Carman (Siemens Financial Services, Inc.)
- 46:515. Somsook Boonyabancha (Asian Coalition for Housing Rights, Thailand
ARCADIS Logos Ltda
A company focused on the provision of project management services and technological expertise for large public works projects and other endeavors.
A global coalition of cities and their development partners committed to scaling up successful approaches to poverty reduction.
A catalyst for long-lasting positive change in low- and moderate-income communities around the world, helping them to improve their social, economic, and environmental conditions.
A web site that chronicles the struggles and illuminates the pathways to more vibrant, equitable, sustainable choices for grassroots America and urban regions worldwide.
Clean Air Initiative - Asia Center
A non-profit organization organized around initiatives that reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
European Parliament - URBAN Intergroup
Intergroup has developed an efficient and integrated European sustainable urban policy to resolve issues such as air pollution, urban mobility, social exclusion and access to Housing.
A company dedicated to managing and administering European Structural Fund Programs in Scotland.
Estruturadora Brasileira de Projetos
A company organized to facilitate the formation of public-private partnerships to build sustainable infrastructure projects in Brazil.
Founded by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), the non-profit federation of motoring organizations, the FIA Foundation supports activities promoting road safety, environmental protection and sustainable mobility.
Gallup Institute for Global Cities
An institute dedicated to behavioral research on the economic, social, and environmental conditions of city inhabitants.
German Marshall Fund
The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) is a nonpartisan American public policy and grantmaking institution dedicated to promoting greater cooperation and understanding between North America and Europe.
Inter-American Development Bank
Provides solutions to development challenges by partnering with governments, companies and civil society organizations.
Jonathan Rose Companies
A green real estate policy, planning, development, owner's representative and investment firm that works in collaboration with not-for-profits, towns and cities.
Jones Lang LaSalle
A financial and professional services firm specializing in real estate services and investment management.
Lincoln Institute of Land Policy
A policy institute that seeks to improve the dialogue about urban development, the built environment, and tax policy through research, training, conferences, demonstration projects, publications, and multimedia.
McGraw Hill Construction
Provides project and product information, industry news, trends, and forecasts to the construction industry.
Meeting of the Minds Summit
This annual leadership summit, organized by Urban Age Institute, brings key influencers and top policy-makers together with leading investors. For two days, hundreds of invited participans focus—through discussion and debate—on addressing the big challenges facing cities all sizes and types. For information from the past three meetings, see: Meeting of the Minds 2007, Meeting of the Minds 2008, and Meeting of the Minds 2009.
Michael Singer Studio
Michael Singer designs architecture, landscape, and planning projects as successful models for urban and ecological renewal.
MIT Sloan School of Management
A leading business school that conducts cutting-edge research and provides management education.
An international consortium of knowledge institutions, market players and governmental bodies working to improve the way vital infrastructures are planned, designed, operated and maintained.
NYC Economic Development Corporation
Dedicated to fostering economic growth and developing programs that help businesses, create jobs, and position New York City for future growth while improving the quality of life.
Regional Plan Association
A planning association for the greater New York City area bringing together diverse interests, advising government and private interests, and providing recommendations based on smart policies.
Siemens Financial Services, Inc.
Provides innovative financial solutions for energy, healthcare, and industry.
An independent firm of designers, planners, engineer, consultants, and technical specialists dedicated to making a positive difference in the world.
Philips Lighting B.V.
A world leader in lifestyle, healthcare, and lighting.
The Rockefeller Foundation
A private foundation dedicated to addressing social, economic, health, and environmental challenges.
A non-profit organized to increase the awareness and availability of clean technology in the transportation sector across the U.S.
Standard & Poor's Rating Services
An independent provider of credit ratings, investment research, and risk evaluation.
The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT, is the United Nations agency to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all.
Urban Age Institute
A leading catalyst that links cities with one another through learning programs. It also links city and national governments, through partners, with both private and independent sectors. Dedicated to bringing the future of urbanization. The organization also publishes Urban Age Magazine.
Waste Management, Inc.
A major provider of waste disposal and environmental services in North America.
The World Bank
A source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries, with an emphasis on helping people help themselves and their environment by providing resources, sharing knowledge, building capacity and forging partnerships in the public and private sector.
World Business Council for Sustainable Development
Provides a platform for companies to explore sustainable development, share knowledge, experiences and best practices, and to advocate business positions on these issues in a variety of forums, working with governments, non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations.
Zipcar is a car sharing and car club service that serves as an alternative to traditional car rental and car ownership.
A socially responsible enterprise whose mission is to apply technology, design and risk management to the massive reduction of our environmental footprint.
Campbell, T. Torino as a Learning City. Comparative Domestic Policy Paper Series 09. The German Marshall Fund of the United States. 2009. (PDF, 446 KB)
Dembo R. City Dwellers: The Power of the World's City Dwellers to Fight Climate Change. Zerofootprint.net. June 2007.
Hidary, JD. The HBR List: Breakthrough Ideas for 2010. Harvard Business Review.
McGraw-Hill Construction. SmartMarket Report: Green Building Retrofit & Renovation. McGraw-Hill Construction. October 22, 2009.
National Research Council. Sustainable Critical Infrastructure Systems. National Academies of Sciences. 2009.
Peirce NR., Johnson CW. 2009. Peters FM. Century of the City. Rockefeller Foundation.
Siemens. 2009. Greening of Corporate America. McGraw-Hill Construction. (PDF, 6.38 MB)
Standard and Poor's. Special Report: Regulating Carbon Emissions: What Lies Ahead for Europe and the U.S. Standard & Poor's. September 23, 2009.
The World Bank. 2009. Systems of Cities: Harnessing Urbanization for Growth and Poverty Alleviation.
The World Bank. World Development Report 2009: Reshaping Economic Geography. Free download.
Hamlin A. Van Alen Institute: Promoting Design as a Catalyst for Change. (PDF, 41.5 KB)
Rohit T. Aggarwala, PhD
New York City Mayor's Office of Long-term Planning and Sustainability
Rohit T. Aggarwala is director of the New York City Mayor's Office of Long-term Planning and Sustainability. This office was charged with the creation of "PlaNYC A Greener, Greater New York," a comprehensive sustainability plan consisting of 127 separate initiatives to make New York City greener. Aggarwala is now charged with implementing the plan and supporting other efforts related to the sustainability of New York City. Under his leadership, the City has begun implementing over 90 percent of the 127 initiatives in PlaNYC, including regulations to make the City's taxicabs and black car fleets clean, planting a million trees throughout the five boroughs, and overseeing the investment of $80 million a year to reduce the City's greenhouse gas emissions.
Former Chief of NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection
Al Appleton is an international consultant on issues of watershed management, water utility management and financing, regional land use, demand side services strategies and on establishing payments for ecosystem services (PES) programs. He is a senior fellow at the City University of New York Institute for Urban Systems, where he coordinates their programs on sustainability and on creating new 21st century water resource and regional landscape management institutions and strategies. As NYC's Commissioner of Environmental Protection in the 1990s, he designed and initiated the world-renowned New York City- Catskill watershed protection program.
As vice president of global thought leadership and business development, Bernstein has responsibility for McGraw-Hill Construction's (MHC) green building initiatives, including the first ever landmark SmartMarket Reports (SMR's) documenting green market research trends in healthcare, education, America, the residential and commercial sectors, and the global green building marketplace. Bernstein also instrumental in the launch of MHC's award-winning GreenSource, the magazine of sustainable and in the creation of MHC's China Green Building and Energy Efficiency International Conferences he serves as an organizer and moderator. He also regularly speaks on green building trends and different parts of the globe including China, Australia, India, and the United Kingdom.
Asian Coalition for Housing Rights
e-mail | web site
Somsook Boonyabancha is secretary general of the Asian Coalition for Housing Rights and director of the Community Organizations Development Institute in Bangkok. For the past 20 years, Boonyabancha has headed ACHR, a regional organization of NGOs, community-based organizations, and professionals working on human settlements. Working with the Thai government, Boonyabancha helped to establish the Urban Community Development Office in 1992 and bring participatory development to more urban poor neighborhoods. In 2000, this organization was merged with the Rural Development Fund to become the Community Organizations Development Institute of which Boonyabancha is the director. Boonyabancha has also worked as a consultant and adviser to various United Nations programs including the UN Development Program, UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, and UNHabitat. Her work has been published in many journals and conferences, such as "Upgrading Thailand's Urban Informal Settlements" (The World Bank, 2008).
Ian T. Brown
Gallup Institute for Global Cities
Ian T. Brown is an analyst and consultant for Gallup Global Polling. Since joining the company, Brown's primary area of expertise has been in spearheading Gallup's new research practice for the Gallup Institute for Global Cities. In addition to research and business development, he regularly contributes as a writer to www.gallup.com, particularly on topics related to foreign and economic policy. He has presented Gallup research at a number of conferences. Prior to joining Gallup, Brown interned for the U.S. Department of State, handling economic and public diplomacy portfolios at the U.S. Embassy in Port Louis, Mauritius. Brown also worked for the U.S. Census Bureau, where he was a supervisor for the 2006 census test. As a policy research team leader for a nonprofit organization in Austin, Texas, he is the coauthor of a study on community and economic development in East Austin. Brown received his bachelor's degree in history and Italian from the University of Texas at Austin (UT). He received his master's degree in public affairs with a specialization in international affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at UT. The recipient of a Fulbright fellowship to study in Italy, he is fluent in Italian.
Urban Development in the Office of the President of Ile de France
Nicolas Buchoud is senior policy advisor for Urban Development in the Office of the President of Ile de France, his country's largest region. Including the City of Paris, the region has 12 million inhabitants. A regular speaker and guest lecturer at international urban development conferences, he is also serves as expert consultant to UN-Habitat, the European Investment Bank, Metropolis. He has published several books about the practical and theoretical urban development issues, in both a European and global perspective. His most recent book is Strategic City, Planners for the XXIst Century (2008). A member of UN-Habitat Professionals Forum, he is in charge of designing a global charter of urban development professional organizations, to be released at the World Urban Forum V in Rio (Brazil), March 2010. He was appointed in 2009 as a member of Steering Committee for the 2010–2015 UN-Habitat World Urban Campaign.
Robert Buckley is a managing director at the Rockefeller Foundation, where he helps develop the Foundation's approach to addressing urbanization issues in developing countries. Prior to Rockefeller, he served as an advisor at the World Bank, where he led the development of new approached to understanding the ramification of rapidly increasing urbanization in the developing world. During his years at the Bank, he had the opportunity to work all over the world helping to prepare projects and undertaking studies. The studies have been published in more than 30 academic articles and in a number of Bank studies on development effectiveness, housing policy, and urbanization in transition economies. Buckley also served as the chief economist for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and has taught at a number or universities including Johns Hopkins University, the Maxwell School at Syracuse University, and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Barry H. Caldwell
Waste Management, Inc.
Barry H. Caldwell is responsible for leading Waste Management's government affairs, communications, community relations, and public sector services activities. He is a member of the company's senior leadership team and reports to Waste Management chief executive officer, David Steiner. Waste Management, Inc. is North America's leading provider of comprehensive waste management and environmental services. Based in Houston, Texas, it is a FORTUNE 200 company with revenues of approximately $13 billion and more than 47,000employees.
Tim Campbell, PhD
Urban Age Institute
Tim Campbell is chairman, Urban Age Institute; former leader, Urban Programs, World Bank Institute; advisor to cities, national governments, international agencies; author, "Beyond Smart Cities: The Janus Face of City Learning in an Urban World (2010). Campbell has worked for more than 35 years in urban development—with experience in scores of countries and hundreds of cities in Latin America, South and East Asia, Eastern Europe, and Africa. His areas of expertise include strategic urban planning, city development strategies, decentralization, urban policy, and social and poverty impact of urban development. Campbell retired from the World Bank in December of 2005 after more than 17 years working in various capacities in the urban sector. Campbell has authored several books. The Quiet Revolution, explores decentralization in Latin America from 1983-1995 (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003) published in Spanish by Alfaomega, Bogotá. A second book, Leadership and Innovation (World Bank, 2004), examines the innovation process in leading local governments in Latin America. He holds a BA in Political Science from U. C. Berkeley (1966), a Masters in City and Regional Planning from U.C. Berkeley (1970), and a PhD in Urban Studies and Planning from M.I.T. (1980).
Lincoln Institute of Land Policy
Armando Carbonell, Lincoln Institute for Land Policy's senior fellow and chairman of their Department of Planning and Urban Form, is an urban planner. His areas of expertise include city and regional planning, property rights and regulation, and land use and the environment. He also teaches planning at Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to his appointment to the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Carbonell was the founding executive director of the Cape Cod Commission, a regional planning and land use regulatory agency. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners. Carbonell received his A.B. degree from Clark University and was a Doctoral Fellow at the Johns Hopkins University and a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University.
Siemens Financial Services
Andrew Carman is senior vice president and general manager of Siemens Financial Services Inc. (SFS). He is currently responsible for Siemens' Equipment Finance Group; specializing in equipment and corporate finance solutions for all commercial and industrial customers including the aviation, maritime and transportation sectors. Carman, who has over 18 years experience in equipment financing, joined SFS as part of an executive turn-around team during which time SFS has experienced tremendous growth. He is also responsible for having expanded SFS' product offering by establishing a corporate finance, leverage lending group focused on industrial sectors. Prior to joining SFS, Carman spent 10+ years with GE Capital in a variety of leadership roles: international mergers and acquisitions focused on Brazil and Japan, commercial equipment financing and healthcare equipment financing. Prior to GE Capital, Carman spent time with Chase Manhattan Bank and Drexel Burnham Lambert.
Nancy Rutledge Connery
Nancy Rutledge Connery of NextGen Infrastructure formerly served as executive director of the National Council on Public Works Improvement, a joint Presidential/Congressional study commission, which produced a series of highly regarded reports on the state of the nation's infrastructure in the late 1980s. Prior to that, she helped create the Washington State Public Works Trust Fund, which has provided nearly $3 billion of low interest loans to support local renewal projects throughout the state. Connery has served on various boards at the National Academies, Harvard Kennedy School and the Institute for Civil Infrastructure Systems (New York University) and in 2000 was appointed by the U.S. Senate Majority Leader to the Amtrak Reform Council, a Congressional oversight commission. She currently writes, lectures, and consults on a variety of projects to advance dialogue, cut across boundaries, and pioneer new ways of thinking about and creating sustainable urban infrastructure systems.
Ron Dembo, PhD
Ron Dembo is the founder and CEO of Zerofootprint, an organization dedicated to a mass reduction in global environmental impact. Prior to Zerofootprint, Ron was the founder, CEO, and president of Algorithmics Inc., growing it from a startup to the largest enterprise risk-management software company in the world, with offices in fifteen countries and over 70% of the world's top 100 banks as clients. Algorithmics was consistently voted as one of the top 50 best-managed companies in Canada. Dembo has published over sixty technical papers on finance and mathematical optimization, and holds a number of patents in computational finance. Dembo is the author of three books. In May 2007, Dembo was made a lifetime Fields Institute Fellow. Dembo's alma mater, the University of Waterloo, honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. He is a member of the University of Waterloo's Deans Advisory Council in the Faculty of Environment, and a member of the Board of Advisors to the President at the Ontario College of Art and Design University. Dembo is the chair of the Information Technology committee of the Board at Mount Sinai Hospital, and is a member of the Board of Governors of University of Toronto's NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council) program.
Standard & Poor's
Steven Dreyer is managing director – lead analytical manager, U.S. Utilities & Infrastructure Ratings, overseeing a group of analysts providing credit ratings and research on investor-owned electric, gas, and water utilities, independent power producers, gas pipelines, project finance, and public-private infrastructure partnerships. He also leads S&P's initiative to apply Enterprise Risk Management to the credit analysis process for corporate ratings globally, and is the U.S. lead on an initiative to improve transparency in global carbon markets. From 2000 to 2006, Dreyer was North American practice leader for Insurance Ratings. He joined Standard & Poor's in 1990 with its acquisition of ratings firm Insurance Solvency International, Ltd., whose U.S. subsidiary he managed. Previously he was responsible for insurance industry forecasting at Chase Econometrics. Dreyer earned a B.A. in Statistics from the University of Delaware and did graduate work at Drexel University. He completed executive development programs at the University of Virginia (1996), Columbia University (2005) and INSEAD (2007).
Brian English is an urban planner who specializes in housing, infrastructure and economic development. Currently, English is the country director for CHF International, India, based in Bangalore where he manages the implementation of CHF's Slum Communities Achieving Liveable Environments with Urban Partners (SCALE-UP) program funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This program undertakes slum upgrading projects in Pune, Nagpur, and Bangalore, India while providing capacity building assistance to NGO and government partners. Before joining CHF, English worked for PADCO/AECOM as an urban planner and program manager where his clients included USAID, UNIDO, World Bank, IFC, Reliance Industries and Jafza International. From 2004–2006, English was based in Kingston, Jamaica where he served as program manager for the USAID Caribbean Regional Community Revitalization Program, which implemented disaster recovery and development projects in six islands of the Eastern Caribbean. Countries of work experience include: Antigua, Commonwealth of the Bahamas, Dominica, Ghana, Grenada, India, Iraq, Jordan, Jamaica, Pakistan, People's Republic of China, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago.
Urban Age Institute
Gordon Feller, CEO of Urban Age Institute and conference chairman, assists leaders to design and implement strategies for creating more sustainable cities. Urban Age was founded, initially as a magazine, inside the World Bank—and later spun off as an NGO. Urban Age brings together recognized innovators to help leaders inject innovative solutions into their urban projects, to design innovations that are scalable, and to create lasting partnerships for those projects. With Toyota, Feller created and convenes the annual "Meeting of the Minds" conference. Feller's writing has appeared in more than 400 newspapers and magazines, in 12 languages and on all continents. His first book was published during his undergraduate years at Columbia.
Mayor, City of Gainesville
Pegeen Hanrahan is in her twelfth year of elective service with the City of Gainesville, and was re-elected as Mayor in March 2007. Support for her elections has been broad and bipartisan, and has included endorsements from diverse groups such as the Sierra Club, the Human Rights Council of North Central Florida, the Gainesville Sun, the Alligator, Satellite Magazine, the Iguana, and the North Central Florida Labor Council. During her Commission service, by vote of her peers, she was elected to serve as Mayor-Commissioner Pro Tem for three years. In addition to her public service, Hanrahan is a registered professional engineer. She currently is a consultant to the Trust for Public Land in their Conservation Finance Program, and has spent five years with Terra-Com Environmental Consulting, a groundwater remediation firm where, in 2003, she was promoted to senior vice president.
Jack D. Hidary
Jack D. Hidary, after studying philosophy and neuroscience at Columbia University, became a very successful entrepreneur in the finance and technology sectors, and later co-founded SmartTransportation.org, a nationwide organization dedicated to encouraging clean technology in the transportation sector, which has, among other achievements, led a coalition to establish thousands of hybrid taxis in New York and other cities. He also currently serves on the advisory board to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and is board chair of AmericansforCleanEnergy.org.
The World Bank Group
Abha Joshi-Ghani heads the Urban Development and Local Government Unit in the Finance, Economics and Urban Development Department of the World Bank's Sustainable Development Network. She oversees the World Bank's work on Urban Policy and the Knowledge and Learning practice of the Bank in the Urban Sector. The Unit provides advisory services to the Bank's regional departments and clients on key urban themes such as urban housing and land, urban planning, management and municipal finance, urban environment, cities and climate change, urban poverty, cultural heritage and sustainable tourism development and local and city economic development. She is also leading the work on the Urban Strategy for the World Bank.
Shankar Raj Kandel
Kathmandu Metropolitan City Office
Shankar Raj Kandel is the chief of International Relations Secretariat/Public Private Partnership Program of the Kathmandu Metropolitan City Office. He received a Masters in Economics (MA) from Tribhuwan University in Kathmandu, Nepal, 1979. Prior to his position as chief at the Kathmandu Metropolitan City Office he has held assignments at the Task Force for Sustainable Management of Solid Waste of Kathmandu, Kathmandu Metropolitan City; the Task Force for the Formulation of Capital City Act for the governance of Kathmandu City; the Ministry of Local Development, Government of Nepal; Preparatory Group of International Conference of South Asian Mayors and Local Authorities, UNCHS (Habitat)/Kathmandu Metropolitan City; the Solid Waste Management & Resource Mobilization Centre; the Institutional Strengthening Task Force Kathmandu Metropolitan City Office and the Ministry of Housing and Physical Planning, HMG/Nepal.
As urban strategies leader for Ove Arup & Partners, the global consulting and engineering firm, Gary Lawrence provides thought leadership for strategic urban development throughout the firm's 87 offices. A locally-grown asset, Lawrence's roots are firmly planted in the Pacific Northwest. As Redmond city manager, Lawrence turned the first shovel of dirt on the development of Microsoft's campus. Then, as planning firector for the City of Seattle, he led development of "Towards a Sustainable Seattle," the first sustainability-focused municipal comprehensive plan in the world. National and international recognition of his work followed and Lawrence subsequently served as advisor to the Clinton Administration's Council on Sustainable Development, the UN's Habitat II, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Brazilian President's Office, the British Prime Minister's Office, the European Academy for the Urban Environment in Berlin, and the Organization for Economic and Community Development (OECD, Paris) on matters of sustainable development and environmental policy.
Sustainable Development Capital LLP
Jonathan Maxwell co-founded Sustainable Development Capital LLP (SDCL) in 2007. Through the process of developing sustainable investment projects, Jonathan has worked with a broad range of key stakeholders such as central and local Government departments in the UK and China, universities and institutes, NGOs, engineers, architects and specialist consultants as well as financial institutions. Jonathan has completed over 40 investment vehicle transactions over the last 12 years involving investment in real estate, infrastructure, private equity and listed securities. During this time he gained exposure to the capital markets in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas.
Jonathan is a member of the Advisory Council to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Green Economy Initiative. He also serves on the Advisory Council for the Clinton Climate Initiative Climate Positive Development Programme.
Jonathan was previously Director of Business Development for HSBC's real estate and infrastructure investment arm, where he managed a diverse range of successful investment transactions, including IPO of the LSE-listed HSBC infrastructure company Limited in 2006 and the launch of the HSBC NF China Real Estate Fund in 2007. Jonathan graduated with a degree in Modern History from Oxford University and is a member of the UK Securities Institute.
Peter J. Miscovich
Jones Lang LaSalle
Peter J. Miscovich is managing director in Jones Lang LaSalle's Strategic Consulting Group. Since 1985, Miscovich has developed and executed solutions for global Fortune 500 companies involving corporate real estate, enterprise sustainability, HR, finance, technology, operations, procurement, security, outsourcing, and strategic planning functions. Miscovich is a former partner with both Deloitte Consulting and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Long term corporate clients include Accenture, American Express, Bank of America, Barclays Capital, British Telecom, Cisco, Citigroup, Deloitte, Deutsche Bank, General Electric, Goldman Sachs, Hewlett Packard, IBM, JPMorgan Chase, Merck, Pfizer, Time Warner, UBS, and Viacom. He serves as an advisor to the CERES Environmental NGO, SYNERGOS, and the Obama Administration Clean Technology and Sustainable Business Advisory Committee.
Peter V. Murphy
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services
Peter V. Murphy is a senior director at Standard & Poor's Ratings Services. He is the public power ratings sector spokesperson. Murphy joined Standard & Poor's in 1993 as a public finance ratings analyst. He has extensive credit experience in assessing the credit quality of public power, infrastructure, and general government bonds. In the public power sector, Murphy has covered most major issuers, including Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Colorado Springs Utilities, Southern California Public Power Authority, Seattle City Light, WA, Nashville, Platte River Power Authority, and Huntsville, AL. Murphy's tax-backed experience includes the cities of Los Angeles, and Detroit; Nassau County, NY, and the states of Louisiana, Alabama, Michigan, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Idaho. Murphy has published over 60 articles on various public finance topics.
Jan Olbrycht, PhD
European Parliament-URBAN Intergroup
Jan Olbrycht is a lecturer, expert, politician, and social activist. He is former mayor and president of one of the Polish regions, and is active in many European local and regional government organizations. Olbrycht is a regional policy and urban development expert. He regularly speaks at international conferences on urban related issues. He as been a member of the European Parliament since 2004, and was vice-chairman of its Committee on Regional Development from 2004–2009. He is also a founding member and chair of the European Parliament's Intergroup URBAN—a cross-parties and cross-committees grouping with a horizontal approach to discuss urban related issues. Olbrycht has a PhD in sociology.
Thierry Paulais is an urban planner and economist. He joined the Cities Alliance secretariat in 2008 to lead a research/publication program on the financing of African cities. He began his career in consulting firms. Later he served as an advisor to local authorities on investment strategies and financing in France, Africa and Asia. He then joined the Caisse des Depots et Consignations (CDC), the French financial institution that is collecting savings, and financing social housing and land development. At CDC he was in charge of a credit line for municipalities in financial difficulty. In 2000 he joined the Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD), to establish the Urban Development Division, which has been involved notably in financing cities directly and through intermediaries.
Citistates Group; Washington Post Writer's Group
Neal Peirce is a leading syndicated columnist and a leading voice on metropolitan regions—their political and economic dynamics, their emerging national and global roles. With Curtis Johnson, he has co-authored the Citistates Reports on compelling issues of metropolitan futures for leading media in 25 regions across the nation. In 2004-2006, Peirce took a lead role in conceptualizing and launching the New England Futures Project, starting with a six-part monthly Peirce-Johnson series—printed by 27 newspapers—focused on how that historic six-state region deals with its 21st century energy, transportation, growth, higher education, broadband and health challenges.
Clean Air Initiative-Asia Center (CAI-Asia)
Yan Peng is China representative of CAI-Asia Center and assumes overall responsibility of CAI-Asia Center activities in China. She works closely with Chinese government agencies and top professionals with mandates in transport, environment, energy, and climate change issues. Before joining CAI-Asia in 2005, she worked for DFID and ERM with managerial and technical roles for 10 years, particularly on environment policy analysis and social impact assessment. She has a Master of Law degree from Peking University and studies with Johns Hopkins University–Nanjing University Joint Center in China and University of Toronto in Canada.
Sophie Sabine Punte
Clean Air Initiative-Asia Center (CAI-Asia)
Sophie Punte is the executive director of the Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities (CAI-Asia) Center in Manila, and works with government agencies and their stakeholders to improve air quality, with an increasing focus on the link with climate change. Through previous positions with UNEP and the accounting firm KPMG, she gained extensive experience in energy and GHG management and corporate social responsibility with industry in Asia and multinational corporations. Punte holds a Master of Science (Biology) and a Master of Environmental Management from the Netherlands.
Toyota Motor Sales, USA
Bill Reinert is national manager of advanced technology for Toyota Motor Sales, USA. His primary function is to coordinate Toyota's various research, development, and marketing activities related to alternative-fueled vehicles and emerging technologies. He is currently working on several advanced hybrid electric products, direct hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, reformed fuel approaches for hydrogen, full-featured electric vehicles, city electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid concepts, ethanol fuels and sustainable transportation systems.
Inter-American Development Bank
Eduardo Rojas is a principal specialist in urban development. He joined the Bank in 1989 and has worked in housing, municipal and urban development loans and technical cooperation projects. His current responsibilities comprise policy and strategy formulation and best practices research and dissemination in the urban sector including housing sector reform and low income housing programs, urban heritage preservation, and integrated urban development.
Jonathan F.P. Rose
Jonathan Rose Companies
Jonathan F.P. Rose leads Jonathan Rose Companies LLC, a multi-disciplinary green real estate development, planning, consulting and investment firm. He is a thought leader in the Smart Growth, national infrastructure, green building, and affordable housing movements. Rose is a frequent speaker and writer. He chairs the MTA's Blue Ribbon Commission on Climate Change, and is a trustee of several organizations including: the Urban Land Institute and co-chair of its Climate and Energy Committee; the Natural Resources Defense Council; and Enterprise Community Partners. He also serves on the leadership councils of both Yale University's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and the School of Architecture.
The New York Academy of Sciences
Ellis Rubinstein is president and CEO of the 192-year-old New York Academy of Sciences, home of over 24,000 scientists in 140 countries. He served as editor of Science magazine from 1993–2002. He was editor of The Scientist, senior editor at Newsweek, and managing editor of Science 86 and IEEE Spectrum. Over his 3 decades as a journalist and editor, his work garnered 3 National Magazine Awards, the Pulitzer Prizes of the periodical industry. He was the first westerner to interview Jiang Zemin and first science journalist to interview then-President Bill Clinton. Additionally, he wrote the most complete investigative report of the Three Mile Island nuclear power accident and an acclaimed report on the true derivation of the cell line in which the AIDS virus was first grown. In the last decade, he has established groundbreaking international initiatives like Scientists Without Borders and has created alliances with ministries and funding agencies, municipalities, foundations, universities and corporations the world over.
Michael Serafino is general manager of FastFleet by Zipcar, a solution that enables fleet operators to leverage Zipcar's technology and experience to address complex fleet management, sustainability, risk, and compliance issues. He has spent nearly two decades solving complex business issues through the application of technology solutions. Michael has held positions in engineering, support, operations, sales, consulting, and management at technology companies serving medical imaging, biometric security, user experience, ecommerce, and IT management markets. Prior to joining Zipcar, Michael was general manager of enterprise software solutions at Aware, Inc., and regional sales director at Tealeaf Technologies. Michael holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of New Hampshire.
NYC Economic Development Corporation
Tokumbo E. O. Shobowale is the chief operating officer of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), the City's primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC works to stimulate investment in New York across industry sectors and broaden the City's tax and employment base, while meeting the needs of businesses large and small. Shobowale previously served as an Executive Vice President overseeing strategy and policy, business development, and energy and telecommunication policy. Prior to joining NYCEDC, Shobowale was a strategy consultant for Dalberg Development, a firm strengthening global public institutions (e.g. UN and bilateral aid agencies) and also for McKinsey & Company, a global consultancy. He was previously Honduras program director for a small not-for-profit organization facilitating rural enterprise and energy development. He serves on the boards of the Dodge YMCA in downtown Brooklyn, the Excellence Charter School of Bedford Stuyvesant, and is chair of the board of the Leadership Prep Charter School in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Shobowale earned his bachelor's degree from Stanford University, an MIA at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, and an MBA at the MIT Sloan School of Management, earning each degree with academic distinction. He was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN.
Manoel Antonio A.A. da Silva
ARCADIS Logos Ltda
Manoel Antonio da Silva is CEO of ARCADIS Logos in Brasil. ARCADIS is an international engineering, design, consulting, and management services company, with 15,000 employees worldwide. Manoel is a partner of Logos Holding. He has an engineering degree (from Escola Politecnica USP) and Master of Science degree (from MIT). Manoel is a Board Member of Biogas Energia Ambiental SA and he serves as chairman of the board of Novo Gramacho Energia Ambiental SA. These are the companies who own biogas powerplants in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
Michael Singer Studio
Michael Singer is a classically trained artist with works in major museums and public gardens throughout the world but is now better known for his leading role in transforming public art, architecture, landscape and planning projects into successful models for urban and ecological renewal. In 1993, The New York Times chose Singer's design of a massive waste recycling and transfer station in Phoenix as one of the top eight design events of the year. In recent years, Singer has been involved in a variety of landscape and outdoor environment, planning and infrastructure projects in the United States and Europe, including Troja Island Basin in Prague, Czech Republic, New Hampshire Cogeneration Power Facility, Denver Airport, and The EcoTarium in Worcester, Massachusetts. Michael Singer Studio is currently working with the Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County on a new (3000 ton per day) Waste-to-Energy Facility utilizing the guidelines developed in Infrastructure & Community, a white paper he produced and published in collaboration with Environmental Defense.
E. Sarah Slaughter, PhD
MIT Sloan School of Management
Sarah Slaughter brings her business and civil engineering background to focus on issues of sustainability and disaster resiliency in infrastructure and the built environment. Based on her work on innovation in the design and construction of capital facilities, Slaughter is currently exploring the effective development and implementation of strategies to reduce organizational risk and improve performance through addressing the relationship between organizational capital facility assets and environmental restoration, economic development, and social equity, particularly in complex infrastructure systems (such as water and waste water treatment), healthcare, and advanced manufacturing facilities. Slaughter currently coordinates the Sustainable Business Laboratory (S-Lab) and the Sloan Sustainability Initiative.
Vickie A. Tillman
The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Vickie A. Tillman is senior vice president, Global Sustainability Business Development. Vickie is responsible for implementing a strategy to develop business opportunities. Prior to assuming her current position in 2009, Tillman was executive vice president of the Standard & Poor's Global Ratings Services business since May 1999. Standard & Poor's is a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Tillman was executive managing director of Structured Finance Ratings, a position to which she was appointed in 1994. Previously, Tillman led the municipal utilities and revenue bonds groups, co-managed the Public Finance Department, and was ultimately named executive managing director of Public Finance in 1988. Tillman joined Standard & Poor's in 1977 as a municipal analyst, and has had diverse analytical and managerial responsibilities in all phases of credit analysis and criteria development. Past experience includes lead analyst for Standard & Poor's Municipal Utilities and Revenue Bonds groups, co-manager for S&P's Public Finance Department, and executive managing director of public finance.
Estruturadora Brasileira de Projetos, S.A.-EBP
Helcio Tokeshi is the managing director of EBP—Estruturadora Brasileira de Projetos, a joint venture of the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) and several private banks that help Brazilian government entities in the development of infrastructure projects. Before EBP, Tokeshi was an associate principal at the São Paulo office of McKinsey & Co., having also worked at the New York office. Tokeshi also worked as an economist at the World Bank and had two stints at the Ministry of Finance in Brazil during 1990 and more recently from 2004 to 2006 as the head of a competition agency (Secretariat for Economic Monitoring – SEAE).
Keshav Saran Varma
The World Bank
Keshav Varma had an exceptional and pioneering record of achievement as the municipal commissioner of Ahmedabad, India, a city of over six million, where he was credited with rejuvenating the organization with a much enhanced public image, high staff morale, and a well-defined strategic approach. During his tenure, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation received an AA (SO) credit rating, and issued the "Ahmedabad City Bond," the first municipal bond issued in South Asia without central or state government guarantees. Varma is the founding president of the City Managers' Association of Gujarat. In 1996, he was awarded two national level awards: the Innovative Manager of the Year by the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) Alumni Association and the Outstanding Manager of the Year Award.
Philips Lighting B.V.
Harry Verhaar has over 20 years of experience in the lighting industry, with his current role being Senior Director Energy & Climate Change. He also heads the Philips Lighting Sustainability Initiatives team. He has in the past six years been the architect of the lighting strategy on energy and climate change, which has resulted in a pro-active industry position on phasing out of old lighting technologies for street-lighting; non-residential buildings and homes. This program has over the last years obtained significant global media exposure, and has been included in the EU Climate Change package of March 9th 2007, as well as in the Energy Independence & Security Act in the USA. The Philips call to phase-out incandescent lighting (made in December 2006) has generated global support (by the European Commission; the International Energy Agency, and UNEP, in addition to a growing number of countries and states, i.e., Australia; USA; EU27; Korea; Russia; Argentina etc). Verhaar is also an active member of a number of partnership networks, including the WBCSD; WorldGBC; Prince of Wales Corporate Leadership Group on Climate Change; and The 3rd Industrial Revolution, as well as a member of the Advisory Board of the Lisbon Council.
Sheila Watson is director of environment at the FIA Foundation, a UK-based charity committed to promoting sustainable mobility across the world. An economist, with many years experience as an advisor and consultant, her most recent role was as senior special adviser to the Labour government at the UK's national government's Department of Trade and Industry, the UK's national government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and more recently the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. During the 10 years she spent at the heart of government, she specialized in a range of environmental and resource protection issues from sustainable farming and food production to international climate security. Her former roles include deputy director of the Centre for Local Economic Strategies, and policy researcher at the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services
Michael Wilkins is a managing director and head of global carbon markets for Standard & Poor's Ratings Services based in London. In this role, he has responsibility for leading and developing the firm's global business opportunities in the carbon and environmental finance sectors. Prior to assuming this role in February 2009, Wilkins was leading the integration of Israeli ratings agency Maalot following its acquisition by Standard & Poor's in early 2008. Wilkins' experience at Standard & Poor's includes seven years as Head of Infrastructure Finance Ratings, the analytical group within Standard & Poor's which covers utilities, project finance, PPPs and transportation in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Wilkins was also co-head of the Corporate Securitisation group. He joined Standard & Poor's in London in January 1994 and has also worked in the Melbourne and Hong Kong offices.
Regional Plan Association
Thomas Wright is the executive director of Regional Plan Association (RPA), the nation's oldest private regional planning organization. Wright is a visiting lecturer in public policy at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He has taught at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation; the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy; and the New Jersey Institute of Technology School of Architecture. He has served as a resource team member for the Governors Institute on Community Design. Previously, he was the deputy executive director of the New Jersey Office of State Planning, where he coordinated adoption of the New Jersey State Development and Redevelopment Plan (2001) and wrote the Executive Summary of the State Plan. From 1991 to 1993, he was Coordinator of the award-winning Mayors' Institute on City Design, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Robert D. Yaro
Regional Plan Association
Robert Yaro has, for nearly four decades, promoted local, regional and national strategies to balance economic vitality and environmental quality. Yaro has been president of the Regional Plan Association since 2001. Before assuming this role, he served as RPA's Executive Director from 1990 to 2001. Headquartered in Manhattan, RPA is America's oldest independent metropolitan research, planning and advocacy organization. Yaro co-chairs the Empire State Transportation Alliance and is a member of Mayor Bloomberg's Sustainability Advisory Board, which led in the creation of PlaNYC 2030, NYC's long range sustainability plan. Since 2002 Yaro has also been professor in practice in city and regional planning at the University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches courses in regional planning and landscape preservation. From 1995–2001 he taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He has consulted on a number of urban and metropolitan park plans, including the master plan for Houston's Buffalo Bayou Greenway and the Netherlands' Green Heart preserve. From 1985–1989 Yaro was associate professor of city & regional planning at UMass Amherst and founder and director of the UMass Center for Rural Massachusetts. In this role he created and led Growing Smart in Massachusetts, the nation's first smart growth initiative. His 1988 book, Dealing with Change in the Connecticut River Valley, received several national awards.
Office of the Executive Director of UN-HABITAT (Kenya)
Nicholas You is senior advisor of policy and strategic planning at the Office of the Executive Director of UN-HABITAT–Best Practices and Local Leadership, Kenya. After working in design in Europe in the 1970s, he participated in implementing housing and urban development projects in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. He joined UN-Habitat in 1982 to help establish municipal training and leadership development programs worldwide, with a particular focus on public-private partnerships, financial management and environmental planning and management. In 2005, You was appointed as the Special Advisor for Strategic Planning for UN-HABITAT and in 2007 as Senior Policy and Planning Advisor. He is the author/editor of 5 books and numerous articles on housing, urban management and sustainable development and from 2000 to 2004 a visiting professor at the University Federico II in Naples. In 2004 he was commissioned by the Universal Forum on Cultures (Barcelona) to serve as the curator and chief designer of a major exhibition entitled the "Best Practices City and Water Exhibit" that formed the flagship exhibit of the 141-day Forum.
University of Michigan
Susan Zielinski is the managing director of SMART (Sustainable Mobility and Accessibility Research and Transformation) at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. SMART undertakes implementation-focused research, demonstration projects (in India, South Africa, Brazil, and the U.S.), education, and global learning exchange on a range of issues related to the future of transportation in city regions around the world. Zielinski has developed and brought to her work at SMART the concepts and practice of New Mobility Hub Networks, New Mobility Industry Development, Open Source Transportation, and Public Private Innovation. Just before joining SMART, Zielinski spent a year as a Harvard Loeb Fellow focusing on New Mobility innovation and leadership. Prior to 2004, she co-founded and directed Moving the Economy (MTE), a Toronto-based "link tank" developed to catalyze and support sustainable urban transportation innovation as well as New Mobility industry development, an integrated industry approach developed at MTE. She worked for over 15 years in the City of Toronto's Planning Department, developing and leading transportation and livability policies and initiatives, including co-chairing the city's anti-smog strategy. She has advised on a range of local, national, and international initiatives, including the National Advisory Committee on Energy Efficiency, Transport Canada's Sustainable Development Advisory Committee, the OECD's Environmentally Sustainable Transport Project, the King of Sweden's jury of the Stockholm Partnerships for Sustainable Cities, and the European Conference of Ministers of Transport. She was also a long-time board member of Canada's Center for Sustainable Transportation.
Catherine Zandonella is a science writer based in New York City, covering such topics as environmental science, public health, and applied technology. She has a master's degree in public health from the University of California, Berkeley. Zandonella has written for a number of publications, including New Scientist, The Scientist, and Nature.
Registration and Breakfast
|Session I: Sustainable Urban Lifelines in the 21st Century — Global South and Global North|
Moderator: Nancy Rutledge Connery, NextGen Infrastructure
Michael Singer, Michael Singer Studio
Big Picture: Responding to Global Urban Development Trends
|Session II: The Sustainable City in the Sustainable Region|
Moderator: Armando Carbonell, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy
Rohit T. Aggarwala, Mayor's Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, City of New York
|Three Breakout Sessions|
Breakout #1 – Sustainable City Finance: How it Works on the Ground — Case Studies
|Session III: A Low Carbon Marketplace: Risks and Needs|
Moderator: Vickie A. Tillman, McGraw-Hill Companies
Michael Wilkins, Standard and Poor's Ratings Services (United Kingdom)
|Session IV: Financing Mechanisms that Work|
Moderator: Robert Buckley, The Rockefeller Foundation
Eduardo Rojas, Inter-American Development Bank
|Session V: New Angles on Old Problems: How Will More Money Flow?|
Moderator: Peter J. Miscovich, Jones Lang LaSalle
Jonathan Maxwell, Sustainable Development Capital
|Session VI: Private Sector and Global Organizations as Key Partners|
Moderator: Nicholas You, Office of the Executive Director of UN-HABITAT (Kenya)
Harry Verhaar, Philips Lighting B.V. (The Netherlands)
|Closing Session: Beyond Smart Cities|
Ian T. Brown, Gallup Institute for Global Cities
Please note: These are PDF versions of the PowerPoint presentations from the meeting or longer versions provided specifically for the Web site.
Construction Opportunities and Importance of Green Buildings in a Low-Carbon Economy
Harvey M. Bernstein (McGraw-Hill Construction)
Sustainable Finance for City-wide Upgrading
Somsook Boonyabancha (Asian Coalition for Housing Rights, Thailand)
Ian T. Brown (Gallup Institute for Global Cities)
Innovation and Sustainability: How Do Cities Know?
Tim E.J. Campbell (Urban Age Institute)
Sustainable Financing Solutions
Andrew Carman (Siemens Financial Services, Inc.)
Funding the Greening of Our World
Ron Dembo (ZeroFootprint, Canada)
Opportunities and Risks in Renewable Energy
Steven Dreyer (Standard and Poor's)
Inclusive City Services
Brian English (CHF International, India)
Financing Sustainable Projects and Programs in Local Government
Pegeen Hanrahan (Mayor of Gainesville, Florida)
Alternative Financing for Municipalities: Overview of Four Options
Jack D. Hidary (SmartTransportation.org; Jack D. Hidary Foundation)
Big Picture: Responding to Global Urban Development Trends
Abha Joshi-Ghani (The World Bank Group)
Public-Private Partnership in Kathmandu Metropolitan City
Shankar Raj Kandel (Kathmandu Metropolitan City Office, Nepal)
Seattle City Planning: "A Moral Crusade..."
Gary Lawrence (Ove Arup)
Introduction to Sustainable Development Capital LLP
Jonathan Maxwell (Sustainable Development Capital)
New Angles on Old Problems: How Will More Money Flow
Gordon McLaren (ESEP Ltd.)
Challenges and Opportunities for State and Local Governments
Peter V. Murphy (Standard and Poor's Ratings Services)
Financing Options for Energy Efficiency and Emissions Reductions in Trucks in China
Yan Peng (CAI-Asia Center, People's Republic of China)
A Framework for Achieving Sustainable Urban Mobility
Sophie Punte (CAI-Asia Center, Philippines)
Financing Urban Innovations
Eduardo Rojas (Inter-American Development Bank)
Sustainable City Finance
Jonathan F.P. Rose (Jonathan Rose Companies)
Car Sharing for Public Sector Fleets: The DC Fleet Share Program Case Study and Implementation Strategy
Michael Serafino (Zipcar, Inc.)
Transformation to a Green Economy
Tokumbo Shobowale (New York City Economic Development Corporation)
Watching São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro
Manoel Antonio Avelino da Silva (ARCADIS Logos Ltda., Brazil)
Infrastructure and Community: How Can We Live with What Sustains Us?
Michael Singer (Michael Singer Studio)
Sustainable Critical Infrastructure Systems
E. Sarah Slaughter (MIT Sloan School of Management)
EBP: Estruturadora Brasileira de Projetos
Helcio Tokeshi (EBP, Brazil)
Municipal Bonds: Learning from the Ahmedabad Experience
Keshav Saran Varma (The World Bank)
The Contribution of Energy Efficient Lighting to Sustainable Cities
Harry Verhaar (Philips Lighting B.V., The Netherlands)
Sustainable Urban Mobility 2040
Sheila Watson (FIA Foundation, United Kingdom)
Corporate and Project Risks in the Global Carbon Markets
Michael Wilkins (Standard and Poor's Ratings Services, United Kingdom)
Financing Sustainable Cities and Infrastructure Systems
Robert D. Yaro (Regional Plan Association)
SMART's New Mobility Hub Network
Susan Zielinski (University of Michigan SMART Program)
- Municipalities must be able to demonstrate to investors the financial benefits of investments in sustainable urbanization projects.
- Metrics are needed to quantify the benefits of investments in sustainability.
- Incentives must be aligned so that the entities making the investments will experience the benefits.
- Climate change legislation can spur energy-efficient retrofits but investors are wary of committing to projects due to risks associated with technology and the regulatory environment.
- Novel and traditional financing mechanisms have been successfully employed to fund sustainable development in cities.
- New financing mechanisms are still needed.
More than three billion people live in cities worldwide, and experts predict that number could grow to five billion by 2025. One billion of those urban dwellers lack basic services and infrastructure. Today's cities consume almost 70% of global energy resources and, in turn, generate 70% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. To accommodate a growing world population, while conserving resources and providing for quality of life, cities must find sustainable ways to continue providing clean water, transportation, energy, and waste disposal.
Converting today's cities into sustainable environments, however, will require large capital investments. The retrofit of existing building stock in the United States alone is estimated to cost $1 to $2 trillion. Although governments have increased their financial commitments to sustainable infrastructure, private sector investors must become involved to provide the level of funds that are needed. "We have to get better at the financing game," said Gordon Feller of the Urban Age Institute.
Financing is an integral part of a solution, but many questions remain. On the path toward sustainable urban development, how are businesses and NGOs partnering with governments to accelerate the adoption of new policies and new technologies—while making cities the living lab for that process? How can leaders from the public and private and independent sectors work together to finance cleaner and greener urban initiatives that will smarten the city's infrastructure and transform the built environment?
To discuss these questions and chart a path forward, as well as to learn about novel financing mechanisms from leaders who are already implementing these methods, key stakeholders in urban planning met at the New York Academy of Sciences on January 7, 2010, for a conference on sustainable city financing presented by the Urban Age Institute and the Academy. The day-long conference was sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Standard & Poor's/McGraw-Hill, Meeting of the Minds, U.S. Conference of Mayors, and others.
Financial benefits of sustainable cities
Where once development agencies thought it necessary to discourage urban migration, today they recognize that urbanization is essential to the economic vibrancy of a region. "It is a paradigm shift," said Abha Joshi-Ghani of the World Bank Group, "from urbanization being bad in terms of grime, crime, and congestion, to being the key driver of economic growth and the key aspect of bringing down poverty."
For this development to proceed, however, the environment cannot be an afterthought. Regional planning is essential. Policy leaders must change how businesses value the environment to attract investors to finance the transition to sustainability. "We have to change from regarding the environment as a cost center to thinking of it as a profit center," said Albert F. Appleton, former chief of NYC Department of Environmental Protection.
The key is to demonstrate the financial benefits of sustainability.
When for-profit companies can be shown the value of a retrofit to their bottom line, they will be inclined to make investments. The evolution of the nationwide garbage disposal company Waste Management, Inc., is a good example. In response to shrinking revenue from their landfills, the company branched into services that help cities reduce waste, recycle, and convert waste into energy, said Barry Caldwell of Waste Management. The key is to demonstrate the financial benefits of sustainability. "We've found that one of the key words that changes the template is 'money,'" said artist and designer Michael Singer of Michael Singer Studio.
This holds true for government as well. For example, the projected cost of accommodating new residents was the driver behind New York City's sustainable development plan, or PlaNYC, said Rohit T. Aggarwala of the Mayor's Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability. Through conservation, the city can avoid building new power plants. "We realize that sustainability is not a luxury item," he said.
To show investors benefits, however, metrics are needed that can quantitatively demonstrate the savings from energy efficiency and other retrofits. E. Sarah Slaughter of the MIT Sloan School of Management said students there are working to develop these metrics.
Aligning incentives: attracting investors to sustainable city financing
Demonstrating the benefits of sustainable investments is essential to attracting financing. However sometimes these benefits are misaligned so that the entity making the investment is not the entity that enjoys the benefits. For example, when a utility company installs filters on its smokestacks to cut emissions, rates of respiratory illnesses in the community tend to decline but the utility itself does not realize the benefit. When a homeowner pays for energy-efficient retrofits but later relocates, the benefits go to the new owner of the home.
One mechanism for aligning incentives is the property assessed clean energy (PACE) bond. Jack D. Hidary of SmartTransportation.org explained how these work: The city issues a bond that establishes funds that city residents and property owners can borrow for energy retrofits. The loan is then paid back as a surcharge on the home's property tax. This is different from other home-retrofit loans, where the loan obligation stays with the borrower even after selling the home. Property taxes have a near zero default rate, so the risk to investors is small.
Climate change as a motivation for sustainable urbanization
As world governments stall on agreeing to a comprehensive greenhouse gas reduction policy, city and state governments are stepping up to cut emissions on their own. But smaller governments do not have the funds that will be required for such an effort, and they must turn to the private sector. "Finance and investment is a very important part of the formula in terms of climate change and clean energy," said Vickie A. Tillman of The McGraw Hill Companies, Inc., a leader in information and financial services.
Over the past five years, a number of local government and building codes have driven the trend in green construction. The stimulus bill provides a focus on renovation and renewable energy, while tax breaks provide incentive for residential energy efficiency, said Harvey Bernstein of McGraw-Hill Construction. These government incentives could be leveraged to attract even more investment from the private sector.
While the benefits of environmental investments should reside with the investor, a financial opportunity also arises when the costs reside with the polluter. Carbon cap-and-trade systems, already in place in Europe, are one incentive for greenhouse gas-emitting industries to reduce their emissions. Carbon markets have the potential to become significant investment vehicles if private investors see them as good investments, said speakers from the finance-information company, Standard and Poor's, a McGraw-Hill company.
Many private sector investors are wary of carbon markets because the technological feasibility of reducing emissions and the ease of passing costs to consumers vary by industry, said Michael Wilkins of Standard and Poor's Rating Services. Few regulatory bodies exist to validate carbon-offset projects. Additionally, environmental regulations present a challenge to credit quality because they put restrictions on how companies do business. Government policy makers must resolve these issues so that controlling carbon dioxide emissions can serve a role in driving the energy-efficient retrofitting of cities.
A number of federal loan programs aimed at stimulating the development of green technology companies are available in the U.S, said Standard and Poor's' Steven Dreyer, but many of these projects are highly leveraged and thus present a risk to investors. Incentives for green building can be found in every state, many cities, and at the federal level through tax incentives and subsidies, added Peter V. Murphy of Standard and Poor's Rating Services. However government spending might be used more effectively if government funds are leveraged to attract investments from the private sector.
Financing the sustainable city
Overcoming the barriers that have kept private investors from funding sustainable development is one of the keys to moving forward, said Eduardo Rojas of the Inter-American Development Bank. Private investors are more likely to invest in a sustainable public-sector project if the project has a sound structure including clearly defined responsibilities among levels of government and fiscal discipline; citizen representation and oversight; organizational structure, administrative systems, and human resource policies; and adequate public-sector funding from taxes or fees.
A number of mechanisms have already proven successful. One such mechanism is to enlist the human and financial resources already in the community. Brian English of CHF International discussed a program in India that helped slum residents set up a garbage-removal program whereby residents each pay a small fee. Somsook Boonyabancha of the Asian Coalition for Housing Rights in Thailand described how community members pool their money together into a savings account that can be used to invest in community improvements.
Public-private partnerships are attractive mechanisms for allaying fears about the risk of a development project. Pegeen Hanrahan, Mayor of Gainesville, Florida, has established the nation's first solar feed-in tariff (FIT) project, where the city pays solar energy providers for feeding electricity into the grid. The project has spurred the creation of new solar energy companies.
Private sector and global organizations can come together to create new sustainable development in the developing world. Private capital is often reluctant to invest in early phases of urban revitalization because of the uncertainties involved, so public entities are better placed to identify projects, lease or purchase the land, obtain all the relevant permissions and permits, and provide technical support. An example of this approach is the Estruturadora Brasileira de Projetos, S.A.-EBP, a public entity that identifies, develops, and obtains regulatory approval for sustainable development projects and has private companies bid to build the projects, said Helcio Tokeshi of the EBP.
In addition to motivating investors to invest in sustainable development, it is important to find ways to motivate consumers to save energy. Financial mechanisms such as higher fees for garbage disposal and electricity service are potent motivators, but not all human motivations are financial. Competitions between apartments, floors in an office building, and even cities can spur the naturally competitive human spirit, said Jonathan F. P. Rose of Jonathan Rose Companies, which specializes in green real estate policy, planning, development, and investment.
A number of innovative projects have sprung forth from companies led by forward-looking executives, said Peter Miscovich, an executive of the global advisory and management company Jones Lang LaSalle. These innovations are demonstrating that it is possible to break through the logjams that have impeded sustainable development projects.
Although some financial mechanisms are available to fund the retrofit and building of sustainable cities, clearly more innovation is needed. "We need mechanisms for financing an urban future," said Nicholas You, a senior advisor to the executive director of UN-HABITAT. "Here we have a bridge that needs to be built."
A crucial step in building that bridge is to gather information about the most pressing challenges facing cities, as well as to understand the value that urban inhabitants place on the sustainable provision of energy, water, transportation, and other vital city services. The new Gallup Institute for Global Cities is collecting this information, said Ian Brown of Gallup. IGC is launching several major research initiatives in coming months, in partnership with Urban Age Institute, and is actively looking for insights from conference sponsors and participants.
To work toward developing novel financing strategies, cities must become connected, not just through the Internet but through person-to-person communication, said Tim Campbell of the Urban Age Institute. Research shows that a high volume of exchange is already underway on a global scale and that innovative cities depend on a trusting climate in networks of city leadership. With that trust, city leaders will be able to convert new knowledge to innovation and attract the novel financing mechanisms and technologies they need to develop sustainable, livable, and economically vibrant urban centers.
How can governments integrate national and local policies that promote infrastructure development and lead to better quality of life for city residents?
What new methods can successfully attract private sector financing for the development of sustainable cities?
How can governments facilitate local and international financing mechanisms and further develop markets for financial services?