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Portland's Director of Planning and Sustainability plenary address kicks off APA's 2011 statewide conference in California

BPS News


September 9, 2011


Julia Thompson

Bureau of Planning and Sustainability


Planning and Sustainability Director Susan Anderson kicks off APA's 2011 statewide conference in California with plenary address

Portland, ORE. - Over the past decade, more and more cities have focused on sustainability and climate change as key issues for long-term planning. Susan Anderson, director of the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) for the City of Portland, is at the forefront of that trend.

"Environmental protection and sustainability are among the greatest challenges to our future well-being," Anderson states. "Yet behavioral psychologists tell us that only a small percentage of people will change behavior (what they do, where they live, what they buy, how they travel) because of the fear of climate change or environmental degradation."

On Monday, Sept. 12, 2011, Ms. Anderson will open the California Chapter of the American Planning Association's annual conference in Santa Barbara with a plenary address titled "Let's Not Talk About Climate Change."

Come learn how Portland and other communities are successfully developing more sustainable cities using urban design, technical assistance and financing tools - and are getting results by talking less about climate change and more about quality of life, jobs and prosperity, affordable housing and healthy families.

"By focusing on the benefits of addressing climate change rather than the doomsday messages, we've found that people become more engaged rather than overwhelmed by negative information," observes Anderson. "We are applying the principle of individuals taking small steps to create big changes over time."

Anderson led the development of the Portland Climate Action Plan and works with a community full of public and private partners to implement the plan. Efforts have focused on energy efficiency, solar, green building, waste reduction, composting and recycling, tree canopy protection, toxics reduction, green procurement, sustainable food, natural resource inventories, and healthy, walkable neighborhoods that reduce the need to travel.

Under her direction, BPS is the lead agency (with 110 staff) for the development and implementation of the Portland Plan - a 25-year strategic plan and five-year action plan to make Portland a thriving and sustainable city that is equitable, prosperous and healthy. A new comprehensive land use plan, river plan, airport plan, neighborhood plans and Central City plan are also under development or recently completed.
Ms. Anderson has held director-level positions in the public and private sector, including the Portland Office of Sustainable Development and Energy Office, and an environmental consulting firm. She also held positions with the Oregon Department of Energy, was a land-use planner and a public relations professional.
She holds undergraduate and advanced degrees in Urban and Regional Planning, Economics and Environmental Science. In 2008, she was honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Oregon Department of Planning, Public Policy and Management. She was also named 2009 Outstanding Alumnus of the Environmental Studies Program from the University of California, Santa Barbara.