The Peoria Sustainability Commission (PSC) was formed in late 2008 with the mission “to transform Peoria into a community that promotes social equity, green economy, and a healthy environment.” Planning for sustainable development in Peoria required a strategic assessment and analysis of the prior work of similar commissions and interests of various stakeholders. Multiple meetings of diverse sets of stakeholders were held to identify critical issues, gaps, barriers, and drivers of success, and to coalesce around central themes to formulate key strategies for sustainable development in Peoria. These meetings revealed that a lack of focus and interdependencies between initiatives led to fragmentation and limited the opportunities for success. For example, the competition for school districts with higher-quality education led to increased sprawl and migration of population from downtown areas to the suburbs. The concomitant shrinking of the urban tax base in turn reduced the resources available for investment and improvement, resulting in a potential downward spiral in many cities, including Peoria. The long-term strategy of the PSC to address critical issues, barriers, drivers of success, and develop key strategies for the Peoria region is presented here.
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