National Sustainability Using a Regional Approach

April 22, 2013
regional sustainability midwest Kansas City

The regional approach to sustainability focuses on activating the public, private, and civil sectors to collaborate on long-term region investment strategies for smart growth.

Can national sustainability be obtained with a regional approach? According to Mark Mykleby, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, believes we can.

A retired colonel from the Marine Corp, Mykleby is working on a grand strategy that focuses on activating the public, private, and civil sectors to collaborate on long-term region investment strategies for smart growth, and regenerative agriculture and resource productivity.

"The next great global challenge is the fact that there will be 9 billion people. Their arrival brings about a 300 percent increase in resource consumption," said Mykleby. "We just don't have the stuff in the world to do that. And so we really looked at it from that scale of grand strategy."

The project focuses on four regions within in the U.S.: upper Midwest, Lake Erie area, Southeast, and California. The strategy fundamentally reframes out large organizational constructs from policies around agriculture and energy, to things like mortgage policy and transportation policy.

The strategy for regional clusters was to promote engaged citizenry for a "full-spectrum sustainability" of integrating all components of a community towards a common goal.

"The idea is that you can bring in all these multiple functional sectors and different organization sectors... to start creating new types of designs and contracts to match our 21st century reality of a resource-constrained environment.

Read the complete interview with Mykleby at


By Gaylen Davenport

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