Drake University students are taking an active role in creating a more sustainable future for Greater Des Moines. Working closely with the Greater Des Moines Partnership and the City of Des Moines, members of the Drake Law School class Sustainability and the Law have drafted changes to the Des Moines City code to ensure environmental friendliness and social responsibility, while promoting economic vitality. The students will present their proposals to the Greater Des Moines Partnership on Thursday, April 19 from 12:30–3:30 p.m., and to the Des Moines City Council on Monday, April 23 at 7:30 a.m.
“We are always looking for ways to partner with other organizations to further our objectives,” says Richard Clark, Des Moines city manager. “So it’s exciting when we are able to collaborate with organizations like the Greater Des Moines Partnership and Drake University to leverage our shared interest in sustainability. The ‘Sustainability and the Law’ class is a unique academic experience that allows these students to apply their knowledge and research skills to assist with these objectives.”
The students were asked to review three recently released regional plans, “The Tomorrow Plan,” “Capital Crossroads” and “DART 2035,” and identify intersecting areas in the reports that have implications for sustainability. The students determined three areas of focus: water management, energy efficiency and mixed use/diversity of transportation. They then analyzed the existing law in Des Moines to determine how it can be improved to enhance sustainability in these areas. Based on their research and a survey of best practices across the nation, the students drafted amendments to the Des Moines city code, which they will present before the City Council.
“We’re using the city as a classroom,” says Jonathan Rosenbloom, assistant professor of law who teaches the class. “This is a unique situation where the students have an invaluable learning opportunity, while providing a meaningful and important service to the city and the community.”
The proposed amendments aim to make the Des Moines city code more environmentally friendly, economically viable and socially sustainable. The class is designed to function essentially as a small law firm focusing on sustainability with a real client, the Greater Des Moines Partnership and the Partnership’s sustainability committee. The committee works to implement sustainable practices within businesses to create a better future for Greater Des Moines.
“The collaboration with Drake provides us with the resources to accomplish this goal while we continue to focus on a much larger vision in our Capital Crossroads efforts,” says Larry James, Jr., Greater Des Moines Partnership Sustainability Committee chair. “It also provides us with the means to explore model code and ordinances which could be replicated throughout the region. “
For more information, contact Jonathan Rosenbloom, firstname.lastname@example.org, 271-4164.