The Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities

Meeting of the Minds Organizer

The Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities

The Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities

The Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities has a dedicated mission to promote an integrated approach to sustainability through education, public visioning, partnership, and coordination. Created in 1996 by W. Cecil Steward, the Joslyn Institute has undertaken dozens of initiatives in furthering its advocacy for and modeling of sustainable design and development.

With cities growing into sprawling metroplexes and rural towns facing declining populations, and with an ever-increasing demand for increasingly scarce resources, with climate change and global population growth, diminishing supplies of oil and water, it has never been more important that communities everywhere address issues of sustainability. The Joslyn Institute’s focus is on promoting sustainable development to provide for the needs of today’s generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

Created in 1996 by W. Cecil Steward, FAIA and Dean Emeritus of the University of Nebraska College of Architecture, the Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities (JISC) focuses on the built environment to promote sustainable development. Today, the Joslyn Institute works in advocacy and modeling of sustainable design and development through our many individual programs.

Sustainable design is the promotion of human systems in balance with the natural environment. The Institute was established to promote an integrated approach to issues of sustainability and to facilitate this process. In our educational programs and pilot projects, we provide an opportunity to explore the concept of sustainable development and look further at specific applications on a project-by-project basis. Each project is different in order to cover a range of issues. Though these issues are interrelated, they still need to be integrated in an ongoing community development process.

JISC brings an architectural design and planning perspective to its projects, ranging in scale from building design to regional planning. These projects have resulted in schematic designs and studies which show how to implement principles of sustainability.

The purpose of our educational programs and projects is to inform professionals, civic and regional leaders and concerned citizens of how sustainable design and development concepts are being implemented, and to look at local issues that need to be addressed. By providing various examples, the broader concept of sustainability becomes evident.

Because our work involves studying issues of land, water, populations and culture, technology and the environment, many of our projects bring together professionals from all facets of community planning and development, including professors and students from the area universities, elected officials, civic leaders, planning and development professionals, agribusinessmen, public health experts, energy efficiency professionals and community food systems advocates, among many otheres.

While the JISC promotes sustainable development at the architectural, urban and regional scales, one of our main aims is to put together networks of individuals, professionals, civic leaders, and elected officials, all interested in solving issues of sustainable development.

We are continually forging partnerships between public, non-profit, and private organizations and individuals, and we provide conceptual recommendations and direction toward sustainable development. The Institute’s projects may be located locally, regionally, nationally, or internationally. The projects conducted by the Institute serve not only as real projects with tangible results but also as models of sustainable development for national and international application.

As a partner in the United Nation’s Best Practices and Local Leadership Program, the JISC is a point of dissemination for best management practices in the built environment on an international basis.

Among our many initiatives are:

Envisioning Regional Design A partnership to craft a vision for the rapidly growing Metroplex region

Nebraska Sustainability Leadership Workshops A series of workshops for community leaders across the state to share issues, and to learn new ways to address critical economic, environmental, socio-cultural, technological and public policy challenges

EcoStores A nonprofit selling used building materials with the mission of reducing construction materials in landfills; educating the public of alternative uses for construction material; and providing job skills training for young people seeking construction experience in a new, renewable resources era.

Waste, Energy Efficiency & Green Jobs Workshops A series of workshops for youth to promote green jobs by teaching deconstruction practices.


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Meeting of the Minds 2010 in Omaha, NE
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