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Good Design is Good Business, and Good Design is Green

Delegates to a recent conference on sustainable development heralded a recurring green urban theme: "Good design is good business, and good design is green."

The group also pointed to innovative entrepreneurship in sustainable business as the cure for energy demands and an ailing US economy.

There is no doubt that green design and sustainability hold the solutions for what ails the economy now The two day conference covered sustainable development in historic cities. Participants included investors, architects, planners and preservationists who presented business-based solutions to energy needs and urban decay. Most demonstrated interdisciplinary approaches that overlapped professional skill sets. The keynote, author and Katrina House innovator Marianne Cusato, opened the program with an overview of how design shapes communities and adds business value.

Referring to the initial results of a sustainability survey, Robert Bailey said that 49% of national respondents said their cities either do not have or do not support a "comprehensive and approved economic plan with a long view." This suggests a greater awareness among citizens than politicians of a need for leadership, said Bailey. Bailey is the founder of the Source Newport conference that commissioned the survey.

Additionally, 83% responded that their cities do not lead or do not mandate a green policy, he added. This is a relatively easy step for any municipality to take because conservation is a choice not a partisan statement, Bailey said.

Additionally, the delegates noted three characteristics for personal success in sustainable business ventures. Successful leaders in sustainability:

  1. Demonstrate business and civic leadership by examples of success
  2. Practice ongoing professional self-education and have a multi-disciplinary team of experts
  3. Use cross-discipline solutions and creativity to initiate and demonstrate results.

For their part, organizations that succeed are motivated by self-sufficiency. The non-profit Historic Charleston Foundation and the for-profit Biltmore Corporation, in Asheville, NC, were established in 1947, each with a mandate for self-sufficiency. Since that time, each has come to be regarded as a model of preservation success.

Leaders from Charleston, Palm Beach, Newport, Asheville (NC) Watermill (NY), Providence, Warwick, and Miami presented their successful program models. In addition, leading authorities on tax credits and architectural adaptation of historic properties presented solutions. These included Scott Simpson of Kling-Stubbins Architects in Boston. Simpson led the conversion of the aging Necco Candy Plant in Cambridge, Massachusetts into the ultra-modern and green Novartis Global Labs. Tom Kasper, an expert in tax credits described how the state of Virginia is redeveloping whole towns destroyed by the loss of textile industry into thriving new communities. CNBC contributor Dodge Dorland, an investment advisor in New York City, discussed the markets' interest in innovation in green investment.

"There is no doubt that green design and sustainability hold the solutions for what ails the economy now," said Kasper. Kasper is a principal at KMC, a Tax Credit Advisory based in Richmond, Virginia.

Source Newport, is the online resource for sustainable development business. It runs an annual conference, a membership website for investors, architects, and marketers and provides marketing leadership advisory in sustainable business. The website and blog can be found at and the sister site,, supporting sustainable business--launching in three weeks.

Robert Bailey is the founder and President and the host of the Source Newport think tank and conference. He is the CEO of Source Productions and President of Trusted Advisory which sells consulting in marketing financial advisory and achieving financial success for clients.

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