Communicating Regional Sustainability

By David Swanson

Presentation on May 24, 2005, at the Second National Summit on Equitable Development, Social Justice, and Smart Growth, www.policylink.org, in Philadelphia, Penn.

It is with some hesitation that I speak about communicating ideas on regional equity and smart growth to a gathering of experts on the topic. I am not an expert on regional sustainability, but I would never admit that in front of a television camera! Like anyone else, I know enough that’s worth saying, and like anyone who’s trained a little in how to talk to broadcast reporters, I know enough to answer a question that I don’t know the answer to with an explanation that what I have to say is more important than what was asked. And hopefully I know enough about communications to offer some useful ideas here.

I’m not completely ignorant of the issues. When I worked for the community group ACORN, I worked with PolicyLink and others on a couple of related campaigns. One was a campaign that almost passed state legislation in California to require regional tax sharing in the Sacramento region