Sustainability has become an important strategic imperative helping communities meet the 21st-century demands for economic, social and environmental responsibilities. At this year’s American Public Works Assn. (APWA) fourth annual Sustainability in Public Works Conference at the Omni Hotel in downtown Pittsburgh, Pa., the keynote session on Monday, June 25, at 5:30 p.m. will feature Mayor Patrick Henry Hays of North Little Rock, who is president and chairman of the Board of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability USA.
As a major voice speaking out on sustainable communities, economic prosperity, and common-sense solutions, Hays highlights the key role of public works efforts in creating more sustainable, and prosperous, communities. In the keynote session, Hays plans to highlight sustainable community leadership and the role of public works and infrastructure in resilient communities.
He will spotlight the need for greater resilience in America's communities as citizens face increasing energy and extreme weather challenges, such as droughts, floods, severe storms and heat, which all create stress on water, energy and transportation infrastructure systems. Mayor Hays will also provide examples of innovative sustainable infrastructure approaches by leading cities around the country, including the work that is being done in North Little Rock.
Stressing that now is the time to begin assessing vulnerabilities and taking action to protect infrastructure and key economic assets in any community, Hays notes that public works departments are critical to these efforts. “Some of our greatest infrastructure challenges are also our greatest opportunities. Local governments and public works departments in particular can undertake strategic initiatives that create local jobs and save money, while at the same time updating infrastructure and making communities greener and healthier. Connecting the dots on environmental and economic opportunity is what sustainability is all about,” he said.
“This year’s Sustainability Conference features the combined resources of education sessions, networking with peers, opportunities to discuss the challenges faced by other communities, and the latest innovative tools, practices and experts, which makes this one of the best APWA Sustainable Conferences so far. The Center for Sustainability’s Leadership Team helped design the conference, and the combination of education sessions, speakers, exhibitors and shared expertise among attendees, as well as the latest best practices and innovations in sustainable infrastructure will be available,” APWA Center for Sustainability Director Julia Anastasio said.