Since its founding, Atlanta has always aspired to greater heights. In its brief 174 year history, Atlanta has risen from ashes to an economic engine for the South and the birthplace of the U.S. civil rights movement.
Atlanta's leadership in economic development and social equity embodies two of the three pillars of sustainability. Completing the triad of sustainability by intentionally planning for the environmental health of our city presents the next opportunity for Atlanta's growth. By doing so, we will also ensure Atlanta's economic prosperity and civil rights legacy for generations to come.
However, as we have seen throughout our nation's history, new economies such as the currently emerging "green economy" often leave overlooked those peoples and communities that are traditionally underserved. There is no doubt that the people and communities that are omitted feel the sting more than any but our society as a whole also loses in these instances as these omissions leave glaring holes in the very fabric of the tapestry that defines great cities and thriving economies.
When many of us imagine a sustainable city that is booming with life and economic opportunity we typically envision a city with clean air & water, a diverse workforce, affordable housing, quality healthcare, abundant greenspace, access to a functional transit system, access to healthy food, etc... But in no way do we envision these ideals for only some people. We see them for all of us, collectively.
The equitable access to jobs and quality of life resources must be engrained in the sustainability culture and conversation. At Sustainable Atlanta we stand committed to making Atlanta the best place to live, work and play through a model of inclusiveness and collaboration.
The role that PSE plays in this endeavor is vital to our mutual success. With PSE working diligently to bridge the gap in understanding equity as it relates to sustainability, we all have a solid partner at the table and in communities not only in making the economic, social and environmental case for inclusion but also one that will ensure accountability from all sectors serving this effort.
We are excited to be partnered with the Partnership for Southern Equity and working with numerous other partners, colleagues and like minded individuals and groups to this end.
Suzanne Burnes is the Executive Director of Sustainable Atlanta, a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization working to advance a comprehensive vision for Atlanta's future as a healthy, just and economically thriving city by developing actionable policies and programs, measuring progress and building diverse public/private partnerships.