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Elizabeth Tisdahl, Mayor, City of Evanston

Sustainability is the capacity to endure. When talking about a city, sustainability takes many forms: environmental, economic, and social.

Environment

Environmentally sound urban planning includes transportation, green building, waste management and alternative energy sources to help make Evanston more sustainable.

Mayors CLimate Protection AwardAs part of the U.S. Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement of 2006, Evanston is among hundreds of cities striving to meet or beat the Kyoto Protocol targets for carbon emission in their communities. Evanston is working toward a 7% reduction in 1990 emission levels by 2012.

Toward that goal, Mayor Tisdahl, along with staff and the City Council, works to incorporate the Evanston Climate Action Plan into city operations, practices and policies.

Mayor Tisdahl’s work on environmental sustainability was recognized by the United States Conference of Mayors when she was selected as one of two winners of the 2011 Mayors’ Climate Protection Awards which recognizes mayors for innovative practices they have implemented in their cities to increase energy efficiency and curb global warming.
Learn more about the City of Evanston's Sustainability efforts here >>>

Mayor Tisdahl's office of Sustainability has been pursuing the goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 7% from the 1990 levels by 2012. For up to date information, read the Evanston Climate Action Plan Update

Economic

Economic development is the top priority of Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl and every member of the Evanston City Council. Working together, they strive to develop an environment where businesses can start and grow. Developing ways to support and retain existing business.

Mayor Tisdahl sites some examples of the effort, “IRMCO, a manufacturer of lubricants for the auto industry and Evanston's oldest manufacturer turns 100 in two years. The City is working with IRMCO to provide assistance to rehab their facility so they can increase their work force by almost one third and thereby increase their production capacity.”

northwestern-universityMayor Tisdahl has reached out to Northwestern University and created a close relationship with the university president, Morton Shapiro. Northwestern is recognized as one of the country's leading private research universities, and as such, has a lot to offer Evanston. The university creates spinout companies and technology licenses on par with any of its peers.

Mayor Tisdahl welcomes Northwestern graduates and their start-ups to stay in Evanston and help establish a high-tech mecca in the city. The high-value jobs created can fuel the city’s economy for decades.

Northwestern and officials from City of Evanston are also collaborating on a project called Technopolis Evanston. The project proposes to provide high-speed Internet access to all Evanston businesses, homes, schools, city government buildings, and organizations. This access would be twenty-five times faster than a telephone modem provides. Networking the city will attract more high-tech companies to Evanston.

The Midwest is emerging as an Entrepreneurship Hub and Evanston is home to several tech centers to help entrepreneurs get their companies off the ground.

colab-logoCoLab Evanston, Evanston's newest co-working space is becoming a gathering place for Evanston's entrepreneurial community. Nearly 200 entrepreneurs, technologists, developers and investors meet at CoLab's space to build connections between individuals interested in building, developing and funding high growth companies in the Evanston area.

The Mayor applauds Evanston High School and Oakton Community College for developing opportunities for Evanston’s young people who are not headed to degree programs. Certification programs can fast-track these young people to jobs in a variety of fields, including automobile tech and nursing.

Social

Social sustainability in Evanston takes the form of keeping Evanstonians in Evanston. The Federal Government’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program stimulus funds (NSP2) has helped maintain Evanston’s diversity by increasing affordable housing, employment, and economic development.

NSP2-EvanstonMayor Elizabeth Tisdahl has seen the effort that she, Aldermen Delores Holmes, and Ann Rainey, and then alderman Lionel Jean-Bapiste put into the NSP2 grant start to pay off. Rehabilitation on scattered-site housing has moved forward. Foreclosed properties are in different phases of the rehab process and families have started to move in. The grant has put Evanston contractors to work turning boarded up houses into welcoming homes. Families who were renters in Evanston are getting a chance to own their own homes. Getting families into these homes has had the added benefit of decreasing crime.

While Evanston’s NSP2 success can be a model for other communities, Mayor Tisdahl says that there are still challenges.

“In Evanston we are engaged in a balancing act, trying to provide enough services so that people will want to live here without taxing so heavily that people cannot afford to live here. People move here because they want to live in a diverse community with good schools and goodneighborhoods.” Says Mayor Tisdahl. “Socio-economic diversity means some of us can afford to pay more taxes and some cannot. It is a balancing act, but we are fighting back.”

“We will continue to rely on reinventing ourselves, reinventing our workforce, finding new technologies or new ways to do our jobs”
- Mayor Tisdahl

Evanston is called a “Walker’s Paradise” by walkscore.com. Its downtown and smaller shopping districts clustered around CTA and Metra provide a variety of goods and services.

Mayor Tisdahl on Sustainability

Sustainability-Tisdahl-video-interview Video Popup by VideoLightBox.com v1.9m

Illinois workNet Center

State Senator Jeff Schoenberg and Mayor Tisdahl led an effort to find a solution after the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) closed its office in Evanston.

The Evanston Public Library now houses an IL workNet Center with services including career coaching, computer job search, job readiness workshops, and individual assistance.

Ecology Camp for Kids

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl applauds the work of the Evanston Ecology Center creating
Eco-Quest Day Camp and other opportunities for children from pre-school through grade nine to learn to experience the natural world and understand how to be friendlier towards the planet.

This one-of-a-kind camp curriculum includes nature discovery and exploration, arts & crafts, outdoor games, imaginative play, scientific experiments, and field trips to encourage children to explore nature and become better stewards of our global home.
Photo credit: City of Evanston

Alternative Transportation

U.S. Census figures have indicated that about 40% of Evanston residents use other modes of transportation to and from work instead of driving. Evanston is a very walkable city with shopping districts clustered around public transportation. CTA and Metra trains can whisk passengers to downtown Chicago and bring visitors for shopping, dining and entertainment. There is also a wealth of other alternative transportation opinions in Evanston including the PACE RideShare Van, Bus Bike Racks, iGo Car Sharing, and Zipcar. Evanston is also home to the Northwestern University’s Solar Car Team.
Photo credit: City of Evanston

Car Free Day

One of the most important things that individuals can have is their health. Mayor Tisdahl believes she should lead by example. She biked to work and stopped in at the Car Free Day Pit Stop just outside the Davis Street Metra station. But it’s not only health she’s supporting, it sustainability. The Active Transportation Alliance is partnering with the City of Evanston, CTA, Metra, Pace, RTA and communities around the region to shine a spotlight on ways of getting around without driving. Photo credit: City of Evanston

Green Living

The Evanston Green Living Festival is an annual event presented by the Evanston Environmental Association (EEA) and the City of Evanston. The festival is held to educate Evanston residents about eco-friendly choices and present green products, services and ideas that help attendees lower their carbon footprint. Its Green Market features over 80 Green exhibitors from Evanston and nearby communities.

Senior Green Connection

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl and Richard Minocchio, Executive Director of the Housing Authority of Cook County (HACC), cut the ribbon on a new garden. Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl joined the launch of The Green Connections Project at Victor Walchirk Apartments which aims to engage residents of the City of Evanston’s public housing facilities in gardening. This new garden is a joint partnership between The Green Connections Project, Family Focus, Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin’s Office, the Housing Authority of Cook County, and the City of Evanston.
Photo credit: City of Evanston

Diversity

Economic Development

Sustainability