Peer Learning

Innovations in Building Resilient Communities II

Peer Learning Recap

The Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) gathered cross-sector teams from 11 U.S. communities, cities, and metropolitan regions to explore innovative approaches to building resilient communities and turn ideas into action at this Sustainable Communities Leadership Academy in Pittsburgh, PA on April 16-18. This opportunity helped teams interested in cross-sectoral collaboration, equity, and social cohesion explore how to create more inclusive processes, reach across sectors, and build or strengthen relationships within their region to bring solutions to scale.

During this intensive and customized three-day workshop, each team had the opportunity to share perspectives and develop strategies with leaders from across the nation on robust actions for equitably addressing climate risks and building more resilient communities.

In 2017, ISC offered a similar Sustainable Communities Leadership Academy built around the needs of 12 teams. Over 100 people participated in this event in Denver to gain an increased understanding of how regional planning, cross-sector collaboration, and inclusive community engagement can maximize the impact on both policy development and implementation. More information on the participating teams, the event agenda, and resources are available here.

Photo credit: Benjamin Thacker

Presenters, Advisors, and Staff:

Steve Adams, Institute for Sustainable Communities
August Ball, Cream City Conservation Corps
Ted Berger, Cook County Homeland Security and Emergency Management
Nicole Capretz, Climate Action Campaign
James Crowder, PolicyLink
Craig Davis, Texas General Land Office
Dan Dickerman, Homewood Children’s Village
Gavin Dillingham, Houston Area Research Council
Grant Ervin, City of Pittsburgh
Donna Givens, Eastside Community Network
Hank Hodde, Smart Home America
Jill Horwitz, Broward County
John Huffington, Living Classrooms Foundation
Sarah Jack Hinners, University of Utah and University Neighborhood Partners
Evelyn Kasongo, D.C. Office of Planning
Ilyssa Manspeizer, Landforce
Christine Mondor, evolveEA
Maxx Moses, Community Artist
Victoria Oliver, Detroit Future City
Deb Perry, Institute for Sustainable Communities
Krystle Starvis, Living Classrooms Foundation
John Stephen, Larimer Consensus Group
Kerene N. Tayloe, Esq., Green for All
Jeffrey Wilkerson, City of Trenton


Since 1991, the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) has worked in the United States and around the world to help communities, cities, industry, and NGOs accomplish their environmental, economic, and social goals. ISC uses training, technical assistance, peer-to-peer learning, and demonstration projects to help unleash the power of local people and institutions to address immediate challenges and opportunities – all while building those on-the-ground solutions into national and international best practices and policy. At the heart of the organization’s approach is results-focused, authentic and pragmatic engagement with all stakeholders, which unearths locally-driven and equitable solutions to the biggest challenge we face – global climate change. Learn more at


ISC brought together teams from 11 regions working to develop inclusive resilience plans and projects in their region. Teams included partners across agencies, organizations, and sectors that would benefit from this unique training and allow for continued collaboration.



Kerene N. Tayloe, Esq., Policy Director at Green for All, discusses equity and inclusion as the keynote speaker for Innovations in Building Resilient Communities II.

Slides from John Stephen's presentation on communicating with art.

Slides from James Crowder's presentation, Using Data to Advance Equitable Development: Case Studies from the All-In Cities Initiative.

James Crowder, Senior Associate at PolicyLink, shares insights on how to use data to advance equitable development.

A video from community artist Maxx Moses, shown during the Communicating with Art breakout session.