This fall, Inhabitat ran a series of interviews with leaders in sustainable design and urban planning. The last in the series was a lengthy chat with Gavin Newsom, the mayor of San Francisco. The city of San Francisco is well known for leading the way on green initiatives and Newsom has been a champion of taking big steps and testing the boundaries of what can be done through city-wide mandates.
The first issue Newsom addressed was mandatory composting, a law that went into effect in San Francisco in 2009, requiring both residences and businesses to compost organic materials or face a fine. With curbside pickup and a giant municipal compost pile making it easier on city residents to follow-through on the mandate, it's been largely successful, though in other cities, certain infrastructural elements would still need to be put in place before citizens could easily comply.
During the course of the four-part video series, Newsom also talks about the city's progress in employing renewable energy and biofuels for municipal buildings and vehicle fleets. He discusses plans to build a wave power generation facility in the Pacific—one of the largest on the west coast, and ways to create financial incentives for city residents to be more conservative in their use of resources, among many other topics. He also takes questions from readers.
For anyone working in policy or looking for ways to encourage local politicians to take action for environmental progress, this is an informative series and might just seed some inspiration for new ways to make your own city more green. For anyone in San Francisco, there's plenty of new stuff to learn about what's going on in your own backyard. Check it out.