How do others do it? Fort Collins, Colorado

We like to see ourselves in Eindhoven (Netherlands) as leading in self aware innovation, inclusing our multidisciplinary commitment to core human values. But we are not the only ones who project initiatives around quality of life and a healthy relationship with our environment. It is a source of inspiration to look at the way other regions/cities deal with their perception of sustainable human progress and eminent issues for local resilience. We like to special pay attention to Small Giants, communities of up to about 150.000 residents. These seem to be very much more inclined to address sustainability from a human evolutionary perspective than large metropoles and even develop their city identity and economic wellness around it.

Fort Collins, Colorado, USA.

By chance our attention was drawn to this mid sized community (151.000 residents) in the United States. Fort Collins in Colorado states that it is possibly the first community in the States that has grouped the departments of economic health. environmental services and social sustainability under one umbrella – the “Sustainability Services Area”. With this the city’s executives seek interaction with their population calling it the “triple bottom-up”. Have a look at this nice short introduction of a town that calls itself “the best place to live” in America. You can judge her for yourself:

On the site of this town we encounter some videos that deal with tips for the improvement of the local air quality. They have for instance a busy train trail that often causes traffic jams. The tip is to switch off the car engine when the wait is longer than 30 seconds. Others refer to Fort Collins as a success story:

Despite a proactive attitude things are not at all that easy as we can tell from the report that the city issues. Several high risk facors are mentioned that need serious attention. Awareness is the first step to do something about it, if at all possible in view of the complexity of certain issues. The human core values of healthy air and availability of drinking water are issues that are in jeopardy due to human activities and climat change. It is nice to see how transparant this is being communicated…. Download here the report . I have not found attention in the fields of local food resilience and safety but in the field of energy transition and innovation plenty is done. Information reaches us that such responsibilities are divided by the city and the county, in this case the Larimer County. The food bank project is an example.

The demographic position of the town shows all kinds of influences from outside the city that people are confronted with. This also determines the mentality with which different instancies deal with the perceived reality. Expertise has been gathered for instance on Radon. The researcher is Leo Moorman, a Dutchman who is now entrepreneurial self employed, expert in this field of work. He shows us that also elsewhere in the world the radium in the ground or present in building materials can effect our health.

Finally some interesting remarks:

The attention for quality of life in Fort Collins is very attractive, so much even that a direct link is made with its economic wellness. With an unemployment figure of 3,9% it belongs to the most productive communities of America.

The number 1 tip of Fort Collins for a healthier environment is: 1. Teleworking
Save time and money by working from home. Check to see if your employer has teleworking options. Teleworking helps reduce traffic congestion and pollution, not to mention office politics! Contact the City’s SmartTrips office to receive a free teleworking kit that will help guide you and your employer through the process of establishing a complete telework program.”

The monthly salary of the Mayor is ….. 1141$….

 

Airport related measurements started

Airport Eindhoven closed for 2 week in order to re-tarmac the landing strip. This is an ideal opportunity for AiREAS to measure the difference of environmental impact when the airport is operational and when not. Those measurements started today in the field of ultrafinedust (Technological partner Oxility).

img-20160603-wa0002.jpg

Inside the box

img-20160603-wa0001.jpg

The nanotracer measure UFP

img-20160603-wa0000.jpg

The equipment installed in the city of Best

Onderzoek gebieden Airport

The map that shows the measurement effort related to the airport

The measurements are done to define and support a more definite infrastructure that will monitor air quality in the entire region, similar to the finemaze, near realtime network we have in the city of Eindhoven. Due to the diversity of polluting agents in the broader scope of the region (intensive catle keeping, agricultural issues, airport, traffic, household pollution, etc) we also need to see how different measurement techiques and sensors work together in providing data for full regional air quality and exposure interpretation. The fact that the airport is closed should give us some insight without the influence of civil and military air traffic. We measure UFP, NO2, Ozone, noise, humidity, temperature and relate to wind direction and climate.