New NLC Report Highlights the Importance of Partnerships in Moving Sustainability Forward

Dubuque, Iowa
July 12, 2013

By Raksha Vasudevan

Partnerships can play a critical role in advancing sustainability programs and initiatives. That’s the finding of a new NLC report on Dubuque, Iowa’s sustainability initiatives: Dubuque Gets Engaged: The Critical Role of Partnerships in Moving Sustainability Forward.

Through in-depth interviews with various local and regional partners, the report showcases various types of partnerships that other cities could engage in, appropriate strategies to bring in partners and creative ways to leverage partners’ resources and assets to successfully implement a city-led, community-supported sustainability initiative.   

Under Mayor Roy Buol’s leadership, Dubuque has developed strong partnerships to catalyze, promote, implement and maintain various sustainability projects taking place within the city. In 2005, when Mayor Buol ran for office, he heard the same conversations among residents over and over again on topics such as investment in the city’s downtown, access to the Mississippi River, open space, and public transportation. Residents were also focused on environmental integrity, economic prosperity and social and cultural vibrancy. In 2006, the Dubuque City Council adopted Sustainable Dubuque, an initiative that addresses issues critical to city residents through a sustainability framework; it outlines 11 guiding principles for building an inclusive, sustainable city.

“To this day, we are focused not on whose idea something is, but rather, how we can work together to turn a good idea into reality," Mayor Buol remarked. NLC’s report, Dubuque Gets Engaged, highlights the critical role that partnerships have played in making Sustainable Dubuque a reality over the last seven years.

The report includes six case studies of successful partnerships between the City of Dubuque and various stakeholders, such as community foundations, non-profit organizations, schools and private companies. The case studies highlight the following organizations and their sustainability-focused partnership efforts:
 
•    The Greater Dubuque Development Corporation
•    East Central Intergovernmental Association 
•    Sustainable City Network
•    Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque
•    Green Vision Education Program 
•    IBM

Check out the report on NLC’s Sustainable Cities Institute website today and email sustainability@nlc.org with questions and comments.