TODAY'S QUESTION: What can Columbia do to become more sustainable?

Thursday, May 20, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

Columbia's new sustainability manager, Barbara Buffaloe, met with residents Tuesday night to explain the steps Columbia is taking to become a more sustainable city.

She discussed plans for making city buildings more energy efficient and gathered input from residents in attendance.

Buffaloe's ideas include:

  • An assessment of 60 of the city's facilities, which she is hoping to have completed by the end of the year. The city will set a baseline for its energy use through this assessment.
  • An interactive map detailing how city buildings stack up against each other in terms of energy use, with the goal of creating competition.
  • A sustainability advisory board, which she hopes will help get residents involved in sustainability efforts. 

Residents discussed changes to the recycling program, including eventually accepting all plastics rather than just specific types, the possibility of implementing carpools and enlarging Columbia's bus system.

What else could Columbia be doing to improve its sustainability?

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Mark Foecking May 20, 2010 | 1:05 p.m.

Stop building far-flung developments that tax our transportation and utilities infrastructure, and increase our reliance on private cars. It was a disappointment that Ms. Buffaloe's position did not include input on land use. Land use is the single most important element in building a sustainable city, and the inputs required to support sprawl are absolutely unsustainable.


(Report Comment)
Christopher Foote May 20, 2010 | 4:01 p.m.

I think we should drastically increase the permit fee developers pay for housing units that require new infrastructure, i.e. roads sewer etc... The fee should be high enough so that it is fiscally prudent to develop underdeveloped/blighted areas already serviced with existing city utilities. In essence, what is now occurring is that developers are externalizing infrastructure costs (paid by current city residents not developers or new home buyers buying these homes) to build housing cheaply on land that is far from the city center. This results in sprawl, exacerbates transportation problems and increases local fuel consumption.

(Report Comment)
Allan Sharrock May 20, 2010 | 5:41 p.m.

I think we need fire the sustainability director as that is not a fiscally sustainable position or have her salary be based on how much money she can save the city per year. Sustainability should include money aspects. I think the Percent for Art program needs to be converted to a Percent for Environment tax. Then the city can buy lots in developments to convert the area to catch rain water from the roads. Anyone who gets TIF money needs to use a certain percentage to make the building greener. I think something like this would look good on Tiger Hotel.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking May 20, 2010 | 6:40 p.m.

In many cities, sustainability directors save more than enough to pay their salaries. We are likely no different.


(Report Comment)
Allan Sharrock May 20, 2010 | 7:10 p.m.

You have any data to support that claim?

(Report Comment)

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