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Sustainability Impact Assessments

This internship will extend the work from the successful Sustainability Impact Assessment project. That project assessed impacts of a proposed development project on climate, community, health, environmental, and local economy, both long and short term. This project will do a sustainability impact assessment on a new project and publish a guide to encourage and assist other communities and organizations to do this type of comprehensive assessment. This internship is still being developed, so some details on this page may change.

The summer project mentioned above looked at sustainability impacts for a proposed science center, but planners need to apply the process to many types of development — including some that might appear to be entirely positive, such as schools, hospitals, college & university buildings, office buildings, shopping centers, and sports complexes. Unfortunately, even ‘desirable’ projects create many adverse impacts, fueling global warming & climate change and harming community residents and local businesses. Assessing adverse impacts in advance is one key to better development.

Interns will research ways to prepare this type of assessment in various situations, including different locales and project types, to develop a solid resource list / toolkit to be published online.

This is part of our initiative to promote community planning that focuses on resilience and community engagement. Interns will engage in some or all of the following activities:

  • Become familiar with the work done as part of the Sustainability Impact Assessment project  this summer
  • Prepare a sustainability impact assessment on a new project
  • Identify resources & reference materials to facilitate future assessment projects
  • Research community resilience, including what other communities have done, to create plans that:
    • engage a wide spectrum of people in planning processes
    • benefit all, including those who are vulnerable
    • communicate effectively about threats to health & safety (both short- and so long-term)
    • consider intersections among the responsibilities of individuals, institutions, communities, and larger regions
  • Work with community members & local organizations to explore possibilities
  • Assist with efforts to raise awareness and understanding through presentations, fact sheets, reports, and/or posters.