Throughout Omaha, growing numbers of citizens are beginning to believe their city can and should be a more sustainable place. In 2008, Omaha by Design partnered with the City of Omaha to help create the Environmental Element, a planning tool that establishes a comprehensive new environmental vision for the city. It consists of more than 600 recommendations and was unanimously approved by the Omaha City Council and incorporated into the City of Omaha’s Master Plan in December 2010.
Omaha by Design has convened an Environment Omaha Implementation Team to help guide the implementation of the recommendations. The team, comprised of public and private community leaders, has created six task forces, each of which has prioritized its top priority for recommendations.
- The Natural Environment Task Force has identified the development of a complete natural resources inventory as its top priority, as well as establishing a process for updating this document. This type of inventory is useful for local government agencies in developing policies, informing land use decisions and identifying areas for natural resource conservation and management.
- The Community Health Task Force has identified the promotion and use of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) as its top priority. CPTED, as the name implies, is a multi-disciplinary approach to deterring criminal behavior through environmental design. CPTED strategies rely upon the ability to influence offender decisions that precede criminal acts.
- The Resource Conservation Task Force has identified the topic of solid waste management as its top priority. The goals are to promote the benefits of recycling to citizens, to begin to explore incentivizing commercial sector recycling, and to support research to quantify and standardize the macro/micro measurement of waste.
- The Building Construction Task Force has identified the topic of building codes as its top priority. The goals are to update the city’s building codes to reflect the Green and Healthy Homes guidelines and the latest provisions for energy efficiency and healthy buildings, as well as developing and enforcing indoor air quality standards.
- The Urban Form/Transportation Task Force has identified the development of an education campaign on the economic benefits of a strong and adequately funded transit operation as its top priority.
- The Urban Form/Land Use Task Force has identified the topic of redevelopment financing as its top priority. The goal is to develop and promote new development financing tools that are available in other states and communities and identify funding for the acquisition of vacant properties in blighted areas for redevelopment.