Current Urban Climate Change Research

EPSG President Dr. Meyer has been participating in the Urban Climate Change Research Network for three years. He is one of the lead authors on the chapter on “Economics, Finance and the Role of the Private Sector” in relationship to efforts at urban climate change adaptation and mitigation In the forthcoming Climate Change and Cities:Second Assessment Report of the Urban Climate Change Research Network, which was previewed at UNFCCC Cop 21 in Paris in December, 2015, and will be launched formally in cooperation with UNFCCC at UN Habitat III in Quito, Ecuador, in October, 2016 after publication by Cambridge University Press.

As a result of that engagement, Dr. Meyer has been invited to speak at the eighth annual meeting of  the global Low Carbon Society Research Network (LCS-RNet), in Wuppertal, Germany, in September, addressing new initiatives in urban sustainable infrastructure and related financing across the globe.

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Brownfields Community Benefits Project

The E.P. Systems Group, Inc., is are pleased to report that, under the leadership of the  Center for Environmental Policy and Management at the University of Louisville, we continue our work under a $1,000,000 award under the EPA’s Brownfields Training, Research, and Technical Assistance grant program. Together with partners from Symbiont and Lazarus LLC, we are now, in project year two, developing the impact model that is the core of the Brownfields Community Benefits Assessment Tool Kit (BCBAT).  This project is unique in that it will re-examine and augment traditional economic benefit models for redevelopment and in-fill to include a broader set of indicators that have until recently been difficult to systematically measure. It will also explore the efficacy and value of including hyper-local community collected data in these models now that technological advances open the door to systematic and consistent collection of that level of information. The tool kit will be based on an easy to use portable app linked with a web-based desktop portal. The system will use accessible national, state, regional and local data and hyper-local data as the foundation for benefit calculation formulas we develop.

The goal of this project is to enhance community decision makers’ capacity to measure and track the benefits of redeveloping brownfields and thus expand the number of abandoned, vacant, and under-utilized properties that get cleaned up and considered community assets. Our pilot community is a neighborhood in Louisville/Jefferson County Metro, Kentucky, a community that has made huge strides in successful brownfields redevelopment, implemented policies on open data, and developed innovative tracking of vacant, abandoned and contaminated properties.

EPSG President Dr. Meyer is responsible for model development. aspects of the user interface to be developed, and will co-author the users’ manual to be developed.

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Steering Urban Transformations

That was the theme of the tri-lingual (English/Spanish/Portuguese) symposium of the International Urban Planning and Environment Association (IUPEA), held in La Plata, Argentina, in September, 2014.  EPSG Associate Melissa Saunders addressed the issues in Defining Local Planning Objectives During Global Climate Change in a presentation prepared for the symposium.   Her presentation considered the contexts of planning decision-making and how stress due to current events and disasters can distort what would otherwise seem to be rational processes. Dr. Peter Meyer, EPSG President, a member of the IUPEA Board and of the symposium’s organizing committee, delivered her argument in her absence due to illness.

Dr. Meyer is working with the organizing committee for the 12th IUPEA Symposium, scheduled for 2016 in Lisbon, Portugal, as Board liaison. That practitioner-scholar collaboration will be developed on the theme of  “CITIES FOR US: engaging communities and citizens for sustainable development.”

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Urban Climate Change Adaptation

The Urban Climate Change Research Network, an international team led out of Columbia University’s Earth Institute, is currently preparing the Second Assessment Report on Climate Change and Cities for release in December 2015 at the  Conference of Parties (COP) 21 in Paris with case study docking stations and other web data access available for the June 2016 United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III).

The report is a collaboration of over 450 practitioners and scholars from across the globe who are addressing issues associated with implementation at the urban level of the Durban Adaptation Charter for Local Governments. Dr. Peter Meyer, EPSG President, is one of the Lead Authors of the key cross-cutting issues chapter on Economics, Finance and the Role of the Private Sector and will be participating in the publication and launch events.

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“Resilience” is NOT Enough

E.P. Systems Group President Peter Meyer and Associate Melissa Saunders contributed to the 14th annual National Conference on Science and the Environment in Washington in January, 2014.  Addressing the conference theme of “Building Climate Solutions,,” they examined how misuse and misunderstanding of “resilience,” a term that came into wide use after Superstorm Sandy, has confounded state and local government efforts to plan coherently for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

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Raising Investment Funds for Clean Energy Programs & Working with Financial Institutions

EPSG President Peter Meyer will present a webinar offering an introduction to clean energy financing options to small local governments, economic development authorities, and non-profit organizations that wish to seek financing from private institutions to launch clean energy programs on Thursday, December 5, 2013; 2:00-3:30 p.m. EST. Different types of financing and lenders will be reviewed, including how they are likely to respond to the risks and opportunities associated with clean energy program funding. Then, a step-by-step process for approaching lenders will be reviewed, and additional resources for taking these steps will be highlighted. Register now.

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Spurring Local Economic Development with Clean Energy Programs

EPSG President Peter Meyer will be anchoring a webinar hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy from 3:00 to 4:30 on November 7, addressing how communities can use energy efficiency and renewable energy programs as local economic development initiatives. Come and join him and presenters from Babylon, NY and Newton, IA, who will discuss their municipalities’ successes. You can register for free at <https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/372059046>.

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Promoting Energy Investments and Job Creation

Come and join The E.P. Systems Group and its President, Peter Meyer, at the 2013 Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conference in Washington DC!

The conference, a project of the BlueGreen Alliance and an array of labor and environmental groups, with active participation by local government and community-based organizations, as well as members of the Obama Administration, is April 16-18, with some pre-conference events on April 15.  Check out the array of sessions, spanning everything from improving manufacturing competitiveness to community approaches to improving energy efficiency in homes. Just go to: <http://www.greenjobsconference.org> — multiple options for attendance are available.

The E.P. Systems Group, Inc.,, is a convener of the Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conference.

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Assessing NEPA Compliance in Addressing Project Alternatives

EPSG, acting on behalf of the Coalition for the Advancement of Regional Transportation in Louisville, KY, completed review of the final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision submitted by the Federal Highway Administration and the Kentucky and Indiana state transportation offices in support of a plan to build two new Interstate-grade bridges across the Ohio River. Filing an affidavit filed in support of CART’s legal claims against the incomplete EIS in January, 2013, Dr. Meyer found that (1) transit and street-level bridge alternatives were arbitrarily rejected, (2) no alternatives involving a combination of new roads and transit were even considered, (3) the transportation needs of 65,000 households in the area without cars were ignored, and (4) plans for placing tolls on the bridges would generate revenues of more than six times those needed for the project. The combination of flaws he identified justify a claim that the bridge proponents failed to consider and ameliorate unreasonable burdens placed on low income drivers needing to cross the river for work and on households without cars, both populations predominantly minority and protected under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act..

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Brownfields 2013 is coming – and EPSG will be there!

EPA’s national brownfields conference is coming to Atlanta, GA, May 15-17. This 15th National Brownfields Conference will include two and a half days of networking and educational programming. This year the conference features more than 100 educational sessions, including lively panel discussions, engaging town hall meetings, dynamic roundtable discussions, outstanding plenary sessions, special trainings, film screenings, book signings and more!

Come Join EPA and EPSG’s President Peter B. Meyer at this major event of interest to all urban developers, proponents of smart growth, and advocates for environmental protection and environmental justice. Dr. Meyer will be presenting in the Environmental Redevelopment Forum as well as participating in other educational sessions.

For more information, just log on to www.brownfieldsconference.org

We look forward to seeing you there!!

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