City of Bloomington, Indiana Sustainability Action Plan
Gnarly Tree Sustainability Institute assisted the City of Bloomington, Indiana in developing its 2018 Sustainability Action Plan, which is a five-year framework for the City’s sustainability strategy that “identifies both short- and long-term goals and actions in City operations and within the broader community. The plan includes an evaluation and reporting mechanism for a comprehensive, community sustainability program the references environmental, economic, and equity elements.”
Working with partners from Indiana University’s O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs, the team began the planning process with a mini course on sustainability to ensure everyone involved in the planning process were using similar terminology throughout the course of the project. Managing Principal Stephanie Hayes Richards also led stakeholder engagement efforts including surveys, personal meetings, working group sessions, and open houses to collect feedback from ~200 community members. The team conducted benchmarking analysis of sustainability metrics and activities in five other cities of similar size and composition and reviewed recommended metrics and actions included in sustainability frameworks for municipalities. The team also worked with city staff members to identify appropriate and feasible goals, metrics, and actions for the five years of the plan. Additionally, GTSI worked with community organizations to identify collaborative implementation opportunities. The plan was adopted by a unanimous vote of the Bloomington City Council in October 2018 and was widely praised by the stakeholder groups involved. This plan was also highlighted by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) Commissioner when the City won the IDEM award for excellence in sustainability initiatives.