Since 2009, O’Brien & Company has worked with the King County GreenTools team in organizing and facilitating a series of Sustainable Cities Roundtables and Trainings for the 38 cities within the County’s jurisdiction. We provide planning and on-site logistical and facilitation support, as well as technical expertise for each of the Roundtables and Trainings. The Roundtables are an informal cross-departmental forum for city staff and elected officials from all jurisdictions to come together to learn about specific sustainability topics. Expert presentations and peer-to-peer discussions form the basis of programming.
To ensure the program matches the diverse needs and interests of the suburban cities involved, and provides high-caliber learning opportunities, O’Brien & Company coordinates the efforts of a Roundtable Core Planning Committee and works with GreenTools Staff to secure Regional Partner Organizations to identify targeted expertise.
In 2009, O’Brien & Company helped GreenTools market and convene six Roundtables on topics addressing sustainable community development, each hosted by a different city within the county. Our client is happy to report that the number of participants has more than doubled, with broad representation of King County municipalities. Attendees learned of numerous studies, tools, additional courses and trainings, and regional publications that could support their implementation efforts while meeting peers addressing similar challenges. Our guiding role continues in 2011.
The Trainings, also involving subject matter experts, offer a more hands-on opportunity for cities to learn about technical green building topics and how a municipality can effectively promote and implement them. Each year, the trainings also include one full-day tour to exemplary commercial and residential green buildings. Through our close involvement with both the Roundtables and the Trainings, O’Brien & Company captured the most salient and sought-after topics and issues raised by the cities, and addressed them in our work with GreenTools on two key municipal resources launched in 2010: the GreenTools Government Confluence and the GreenTools Toolkit2. One of the most exciting outcomes of the Roundtables and Trainings is the fact that the cities themselves are in the process of creating a Sustainable Cities Coalition. For the first time, this will give a collective voice to their pursuit of a sustainable bioregion.