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Portland is among 10 worldwide honorees to receive the 2014 City Climate Leadership Awards due to the Portland Plan Healthy Connected City strategy. The Awards honor cities all over the world for excellence in urban sustainability and leadership in the fight against climate change.
Siemens and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group — or C40 — announced the winners Monday evening at a ceremony in New York City.
“Portland stands proudly alongside the global megacities that make up the C40,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “We're delighted to have the honor and recognition that the Portland’s Healthy Connected City approach has proven to be a powerful carbon-reduction strategy.”
Eduardo Paes, mayor of Rio de Janeiro and chairman of the C40 group, praised the honorees. “I commend the winning cities for their leadership and commitment, and am confident that their knowledge and experience will help drive other cities to implement on-the-ground solutions faster and more efficiently. Through cooperation and collaboration, cities continue to deliver the results that are having a global impact.”
Hales praised Susan Anderson, director of the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, and Michael Armstrong, senior sustainability manager, along with outside partners ranging from Metro to Multnomah County to the state government. He said the private sector plays a huge role in the honor as well.
“In Portland, the basic idea is to develop the centers of our existing neighborhoods into highly walkable, lively commercial districts, making it easy and convenient to get to the schools, shops, jobs, parks, coffee and beer that make Portland a great place to live, work and play,” Hales said.
The Portland Plan also calls for offering new housing opportunities so even more residents can live in complete neighborhoods. And then connecting these neighborhoods with low-carbon transportation options.
“We are about to complete the first new bridge in downtown Portland in 30 years, and it will carry light rail, streetcar, buses, bicycles and pedestrians … but not private vehicles,” Hales said this spring, while addressing the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Chicago. “This is the kind of investment we are making to make our healthy connected city a reality.”
The winners were celebrated at an Awards Ceremony featuring C40 Board President Michael R. Bloomberg and Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Norwegian Prime Minister. The event brought together more than 250 decision-makers from cities around the world including national leaders, mayors, city planners, policy makers and representatives from the business world.
Josh Alpert, special projects adviser to Mayor Hales, attended to accept the award. Portland was the recipient of the Sustainable Communities award for its ‘Healthy Connected City’ network. As outlined in the Portland Plan, and implemented through the Comprehensive Plan update, underway now, the City is developing “complete neighborhoods” to give all residents safe and convenient access to the goods and services needed in daily life. In 2012, 45 percent of the Portland population lived in complete neighborhoods, a figure which the city aims to raise to 80 percent by 2035.
The city’s ambitious and successful initiative shows a unique and valuable pathway to sustainable, resilient, and low carbon communities.
About the City Climate Leadership Awards competition:
This year marks the second collaboration between C40 and Siemens on this awards competition, which recognizes innovative city driven climate actions. Cities around the world submitted 87 applications. An independent, seven-member judging panel consisting of former city mayors, architects, representatives of the World Bank, as well as C40 and Siemens evaluated 31 projects in 26 cities as award finalists.
The City Climate Leadership Awards are part of a broader collaboration between Siemens and C40, announced in New York City in April 2013. In addition to the Awards, Siemens supports the C40 Measurement and Planning Initiative –an effort dedicated to enhancing each member city’s ability to measure data, take action and track progress towards self-identified goals. Siemens’ technical expertise is directly available to C40’s robust network of cities.