The Organization for Sustainable Communities (OSC) was formed in late 2016 with a mission to inspire development of a new generation of sustainable communities through education, research, outreach and community involvement. We intend for our work to guide development of new communities, or renovation of existing communities, that integrates new and innovative practices for the sustainability of water, energy, food and environmental resources and that create lasting economic health and societal stability.
Through OSC education, research and outreach, and in partnership with community-based organizations, planners, developers and local residents, we hope to support citizens from all economic and social sectors to establish sustainable and resilient community development projects. Economic and environmental disruptions are combining to create more frequent and intense weather events, job losses, housing foreclosures, and adverse impacts on infrastructure, economies and people. But communities can be better designed or equipped for sustainability and resilience, even in the face of such disruption. Efforts at creating sustainable communities have been linked to local improved environmental, social and economic health.
The OSC, with programs of education, research and outreach, will play a critical role in working with citizens, planners and developers in implementing sustainable projects. We hope our work will ensure that such projects meet the needs of all residents, especially the most underserved members of any community. Such assistance is needed, because there are many challenges to sustainable community development. Beyond the technology challenges, there are other science-based opportunities for restoration, protection or improvement of local ecological systems and biological diversity (the biological environment); conservation of water, land, and energy; recycling and reclamation of water and solid wastes, and; reduction of air pollution, water pollution, and run-off of rainwater into local streams. The basic principles for education and research by OSC will focus on use of renewable resources no faster than their rate of renewal, and emphasize local or on-site re-use.
Work by OSC will also underscore research and demonstration of new or innovative infrastructure that enables community access to services and markets sourced locally that cause no harm to the environment. Sustainability hinges on economic and environmental health, social equity, and broad-based citizen participation in planning and implementation based on sound guidance. OSC will help engage citizens to build a collective vision for the future, and to use sound science and technologies to develop sustainable infrastructure that integrates environmental, economic, and social goals. All community members will equitably benefit from a strong and healthy local economy, local ownership of agribusiness and other businesses and services, reinvestment of resources through local business to the local economy, meaningful local employment opportunities, responsive and accessible education and job training that meets current and future local needs, and businesses that focus on community sustainability.