City budget deficits are common in US cities. Sustainability champions will face challenges due to conflicting policy drivers and the need for cost-cutting measures. As businesses are beginning to prioritize sustainability, there is not only a lucrative opportunity to implement city sustainability strategies, but also a potential synergy between public and private sector strategies. Finding innovative finance models for sustainable cities of the future that can satisfy the goals of both public and private stakeholders in achieving sustainable cities is the ultimate challenge.
Crowdfunding and microfunding initiatives are well-known in the social cause community. Until recently, crowdfunding had not been widely utilized for the purpose of fostering sustainable businesses and driving innovation in areas that encompass the triple bottom line: people, planet, and profit.
Crowdfunding, which has gained popularity through platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, offers a unique opportunity for individuals to unite their resources, mostly through online donations, with the purpose of achieving a greater collective objective.
2. Green Revolving Fund (GRF)
Implementing energy efficiency projects can be costly, which makes it challenging to obtain the required upfront capital needed to justify and secure the investment. Nevertheless, investing in energy efficiency is a worthy endeavor due to the substantial long-term savings it yields. The Green Revolving Fund (GRF) model is rapidly gaining recognition as a highly effective solution. The model is becoming more popular in higher education institutions, state governments, healthcare facilities, municipalities, and businesses.
A GRF is an investment vehicle that funds energy efficiency projects within an organization, resulting in cost savings. It also supports renewable energy and other sustainability initiatives. The savings are carefully monitored and employed to replenish the fund for future green investments. By doing so, a sustainable funding cycle is established, resulting in reduced operating costs and minimized environmental impact.
3. Tax Incremental Financing (TIF)
TIF is a new way to fund city infrastructure projects. It is a valuable tool for financing redevelopment projects. By implementing a TIF program, the city can channel specific new property tax revenues into the neighbourhood rather than the city’s General Fund, for a specified period of time, usually around 20 years. TIF funds are used to attract private sector investment and support sustainable communities in specific districts or areas. TIF districts are commonly created in areas that have the potential for redevelopment. They allow municipalities to raise funds by using projected growth to finance crucial infrastructure improvements. This is achieved by leveraging public sector bonds against future tax gains.
Investing in a Sustainable Community with TIF-supported bonds brings numerous benefits, such as:
- Preserving and reviving rich historical heritage
- Cleaning up the environment, tearing down buildings, and getting a site ready for use.
- Parking areas, facilities, and structures for public and private use.
- Supporting Sustainable Communities through Highways and Transit Services.
- Housing options for all income levels at affordable prices.
- Managing storm water and maintaining storm drain facilities.
What Is a Sustainable City Model?
Sustainable cities reduce their impact on the environment and promote sustainable consumption and production, based on their unique geographical, social, economic, and cultural traits. In the development process, cities and communities of the 21st century have successfully incorporated environmental care, making them sustainable. These are their key characteristics:
- The residents of this place are very satisfied with their quality of life. They have a good healthcare system, access to education, eco-friendly transportation, and efficient services.
- The city provides many spacious and pleasant green areas for residents to enjoy.
- The majority of its industries and services rely heavily on renewable energy to meet their electricity demands.
- Companies and households use sustainability and circular economy principles, like reducing, reusing, and recycling.