. "3 KNOWLEDGE GAPS, NEW MARKETS, AND POLITICAL WILL." Pathways to Urban Sustainability: Lessons from the Atlanta Metropolitan Region: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2011.
The following HTML text is provided to enhance online
readability. Many aspects of typography translate only awkwardly to HTML.
Please use the page image
as the authoritative form to ensure accuracy.
Pathways to Urban Sustainability: The Atlanta Metropolitan Region - Summary of a Workshop
regulation, stormwater retention, and recreational space) are accepted as free, but their loss is not routinely factored into development decisions.
Dr. Carol Couch, Senior Public Service Associate, College of Environment and Design, University of Georgia, stated that the eutrophication of northern Georgia waterways is an environmental concern for the Atlanta region, but it is difficult to remedy because roughly 80 percent of water pollutants are released from unregulated sources, particularly nonpoint sources. Fertilizer runoff has deposited heavy levels of phosphorus in Lake Allatoona, near Atlanta. She noted that the declining water quality in Georgia’s waterways threatens biodiversity, which in turn reduces the value and quality of recreation in those areas. If citizens had a fuller understanding of these linkages, she suggested, efforts to promote conservation through behavior change might be more effective. As Karen Guz, Director of Conservation at the San Antonio Water System, pointed out, changing behavior often entails an up-front cost, and so the challenge is to be able to communicate tangible benefits (see Box 3–1).
Mr. Charles Whatley, Director of Commerce and Entrepreneurship, Atlanta Development Authority (ADA), discussed the balance between sustainability and economic growth from ADA’s perspective. He stated that ADA focuses on business attraction and retention, meaning that ADA must pay attention to trends and evolving interests within the private sector. In the past several years, sustainability and resilience have become the new buzzwords. This relates to the types of businesses Atlanta hopes to encourage, the type of environment that businesses are seeking when choosing a location for their firm, and a recognition that future economic development should not undermine the region’s long-term efforts to become more sustainable. Mr. Whatley pointed out that this does not preclude maintaining Atlanta’s industrial base; in fact, he noted that ADA would like to be able to preserve this base, although it has been in decline for many years.
One fundamental challenge ADA is facing is the lack of a market for more sustainable products and services. As Mr. Whatley noted, markets still think in an unsustainable way. Conventional thinking for development agencies like ADA had been to attract businesses into a