Sustainable Seattle: The Case of the Prototype Sustainability Indicators Project
As an organization, Sustainable Seattle (S2) can be considered to have gone through seven main phases to date (see Table 1). The organization’s inception occurred with a forum organized in late 1990 by a nongovernmental organization visiting Seattle from Washington, DC.1 The keenest participants in that forum continued to meet and, in an early phase of meetings and slow agenda-setting, devised a plan for assembling a civic panel that would set measurable indicators of sustainable community over the course of a 6-month process. This process led to the heyday of the organization, which involved the production of three successive sustainability indicator reports in 1993, 1995, and 1998 by volunteers and disseminating around the world both the reports and the processes underlying it. Following this was a spin-off phase in which the organization advanced about a dozen new initiatives and adopted a new role as a “center for applied sustainability” or umbrella for sustainabilityrelated initiatives regionally. Organizational changeover followed, on three fronts: leadership, volunteer base and interest, and organizational structure. This led to a downturn in activity and energy. Despite attempts to rebuild this energy through new structures and completing a series of paid contracts, the organization next went through a near-death phase in which the director departed and the board of directors considered folding the organization on several occasions. Torch holders remained, however, keeping the organization alive through its latest reorganization in which a new office, new director, mostly new board, and new slate of activities have been established. Once again in 2006, an update of the prototype sustainability indicator project is on the agenda.
KeywordsSustainable Development Executive Director Board Member Child Poverty Sustainability Indicator
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