Arlington Economic Development and the Economic Development Commission have launched a number of initiatives under the broad general topic of sustainability and more recently economic sustainability.
The first efforts were investigatory papers looking at definitions for green jobs, Green Urban Tourism and a method to measure the "greenness" of a community through development outcomes in How Green are We?. Of these, the efforts of ACVS continue to be focused on maximizing the environmental and economic sustainability of tourism in Arlington.
The larger initiative is focused on Economic Sustainability in the broadest context -- what is it and how would we do it? The focus on economic sustainability means that it’s not just about the environmental and social issues. In fact, the work of Arlington Economic Development is finding that economic sustainability is really about three primary strengths in Arlington County: innovation, resiliency and competitiveness—each a contributing element of a framework that serves to make a community more "economically sustainable."
The first element of this work was the Economic Sustainability plan that was presented to the Economic Development Commission in July 2010. Since that point, Arlington Economic Development has grappled with how these strengths are vital to the design of new approaches that will promote economic sustainability in Arlington County. First, they produced a short white paper, Grand Thoughts: Economic Sustainability in Arlington, Virginia, that represent various facets of Arlington County’s strengths and their relations to economic sustainability. Second, the Economic Development Commission commissioned a paper that examines the relevance of Arlington County’s economic sustainability framework through a review of the academic and policy literature on sustainability from economic, social, and environmental perspectives. The paper, Economic Sustainability in Arlington, Virginia: Cultivating Community Sustainability through Resiliency, Competitiveness, and Innovation, explores various community interpretations of economic sustainability and its relationship to community sustainability. The analysis suggests that the values of resiliency, competitiveness, and innovation are guiding principles and encourage integration of community planning and policy that can lead to further development of a concrete economic sustainability plan as well as assist in the development of community sustainability.
This ongoing project will evolve throughout 2012.