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 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.
The students will present their proposals to the Greater Des Moines Partnership this afternoon and to the Des Moines City Council on April 23 at 7:30 a.m.
"We're using the city as a classroom," says Jonathan Rosenbloom, a Drake 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 class is designed to function essentially like 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.
"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," said Larry James Jr., the Partnership's Sustainability Committee chair. "It also provides us with the means to explore model code and ordinances which could be replicated throughout the region."