In the 21st century, cities will play an increasing role in developing the green economy. One city that is at the forefront is Los Angeles (LA), which has recently published its second annual report for pLANn.
LA’s pLAn for green growth
LA’s pLAn sets the course for a cleaner environment Click & Tweet! and a stronger economy, with a commitment of equity as its foundation. This vision recognizes that, with cities covering a fraction of the Earth’s surface yet accommodating more than half the world’s population, accounting for more than two-thirds of the world’s energy demand and carbon emissions, and consuming vast quantities of water resources, urban centers around the world are critical in developing the global green economy.
Accelerating the green economy
To accelerate the development of the green economy, LA has established the LA Cleantech Incubator (LACI), facilitated green economy clusters, and implemented stringent water conservation measures.
LACI is a non-profit organization, funded by the City of Los Angeles as well as the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, to help accelerate new products developed by independent entrepreneurs. To do so, LACI offers cleantech start-ups flexible office space, CEO coaching and mentoring and access to a growing network of experts and capital. LACI has been a success to date with the initiative attracting $121 million of private-sector investment, exceeding its goal of $100 million.
LA’s green economy clusters
LACI is hosting throughout 2017, quarterly cluster meetings in water, energy generation and storage, built environment, transportation, waste and sustainable materials, and agriculture and food science. The goal of these cluster meetings is to decrease fragmentation and increase collaboration between all stakeholders involved in building a green economy including government organizations, non-profits, academic institutions, technology start-ups, and corporations, with the aim of working together, forging innovative partnerships and developing new technology in each industrial sector.
New water-saving building standards
To ensure LA leads the nation in water conservation Click & Tweet! , new water efficiency measures were incorporated into the city’s Green Building Code in 2016 mandating water-saving technologies in new buildings, landscapes and additions or alterations that cost more than $200,000. The new measures involved the Department of Building and Safety partnering with stakeholders to draft the most stringent water conservation measures in any big city in the U.S. The new rules require:
- A 20% reduction in indoor water use through the installation of more efficient plumbing fixtures and fittings
- New multi-family homes and commercial buildings larger than 50,000 square feet include sub-meters, incentivizing occupants to save water
- Buildings are greywater-ready and use recycled water where available.
Combined, public-private sector cooperation, stakeholder engagement, and regulations can facilitate the development of a green economy.
*Robert C. Brears is the author of Urban Water Security (Wiley), and of the forthcoming titles Blue and Green Cities (Palgrave Macmillan) and The Green Economy and the Water-Energy-Food Nexus (Palgrave Macmillan). He is Founder of Mitidaption, which consults on climate change risks to business, governance and society.