George C. Homsy: Strategizing for Sustainability: Local Government Actions on Regional and Global Issues

A man standing in the window of an abandoned house in Detroit.

In Detroit, an abandoned house turned art project. photo / provided

George C. Homsy (M.R.P. '04, Ph.D. CRP '14) is an assistant professor in Binghamton University's Department of Public Administration. His research explores the drivers of sustainability policy change at the municipal level, strategies for implementation, and evaluation of the results. His interest lies in small- to medium-size cities and towns. He is the co-principal investigator (with Mildred Warner, Department of City and Regional Planning, Cornell University) on a research project funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture examining sustainability in rural communities. With Siobhan Hart (Department of Anthropology, Binghamton University), Homsy explores the nexus of heritage and sustainability, especially at the neighborhood level. Homsy frequently links his academic research to planning and local government practice through collaborations with the International City/County Management Association and the American Planning Association (APA). Previously, Homsy was a planning consultant helping small- and medium-sized municipalities in New York and Massachusetts create environmentally and economically sustainable communities. He began his investigation of the topic as a journalist with the public radio newsmagazine Living on Earth, which he cofounded and coproduced. He was also executive producer for The Cultivated Gardener and has written numerous articles for APA's Planning magazine. Homsy earned his Ph.D. and M.R.P. from Cornell University and his B.S. from Tufts University. He has held AICP certification since 2007.

Abstract:

Local governments have been thrust to the forefront of sustainability with big cities, such as New York City, Boston, and Chicago, garnering a lot of publicity for their successes. However, most Americans live in smaller communities that lack the capacity and/or political will to act on issues of the environment, social justice, and equitable economic development, especially when those issues deal with regional or global common challenges. In his talk, Homsy will discuss his research into the drivers of sustainability policymaking by local governments. His findings also describe the circumstances and strategies that allow some communities to overcome the hurdles to action.