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Upcoming Events

Pathways to Urban Sustainability: Challenges and Opportunities, Meeting 1
February 12-13, 2015
Washington, DC 

View a list of Sustainability-related meetings at The National Academies 

Past Events:

Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability
December 10-11, 2014
Washington, DC

Homelessness and Urban Sustainability: Implications of Changes to the US Health System on a Vulnerable Population

November 12, 2014
Washington, DC

Considerations for the Future of Animal Science Research

September 8-9, 2014
Washington, DC

Contact Us
Science and Technology for Sustainability (STS)
The National Academies
500 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
Tel: (202) 334-2694
Fax: (202) 334-3094



Pathways to Urban Sustainability Workshop: A Focus on the Portland Region  


May 28-29, 2013
Ecotrust Natural Capital Center
The Billy Frank Jr. Conference Center
721 NW 9th Avenue
Portland, Oregon

Link to Workshop Agenda

Project Scope

For more than 40 years, the City of Portland and the Portland Metropolitan Region have been national leaders in urban policies and investments intended to revitalize the central city and adjacent neighborhoods, preserve the environment, improve equity, and make the city more economically competitive and livable. The “Portland brand” has been both emulated as path breaking and discounted as overly idiosyncratic. Among the elements contributing to Portland’s success have been strong public-private partnerships, a culture of planning, and a willingness to implement diverse ideas generated by academics, consultants, companies, and government agencies. Regionally, Portland has benefited from its location in the middle of the progressive Cascadia Corridor, stretching from Vancouver BC to San Francisco. 

Against this vibrant backdrop, this National Academies Workshop will use examples from Portland and the Northwest US / SW Canada region to explore critical questions about the future of urban sustainability. The meeting will be organized into four sessions over two days. Session 1 will provide background about Portland and Cascadia, emphasizing policy innovations and lessons that are potentially transferable elsewhere. Session 2 will focus on ways to leverage local success through partnerships with state and federal agencies, companies, and non-government organizations, including the possibility of creating one or more interagency and multi-sector National Laboratories that gather, test, and disseminate best urban practices. Session 3 will ask how cutting-edge academic and corporate scientific and engineering research can help cities to become more sustainable. Finally, Session 4 will address the challenging question of how financially strapped cities, with the assistance of private foundations, can become agents for achieving broader societal goals not directly linked to their operational mandates, such as climate change mitigation, energy independence, poverty alleviation, and the preservation of biodiversity.


  • Robert Bennett
    Executive Director, EcoDistricts
  • Susan Anderson
    Director, Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
  • John Cleveland
    President, Innovation Network for Communities
  • Glen T. Daigger
    Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, CH2M Hill, Inc
  • Jonathan H. Fink
    Vice President for Research & Strategic Partnerships, Portland State University
  • Jim Lester
    President, Houston Advanced Research Center
  • Colin Sears
    Vice President of Business Development, Greater Portland, Inc.
  • Lillian M. Shirley
    Director, Multnomah County Health Department


This project is funded by Portland State University.

Contact Information:

Science and Technology for Sustainability
The National Academies
500 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: (202) 334-2047