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Up Front

A conversation with Chris Castro, director of sustainability and resilience for Orlando

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On July 15, Chris Castro, director of sustainability and resilience for the city of Orlando, Florida, and Anthony F. Pipa, senior fellow at Brookings, discussed how Orlando sees its COVID-19 response efforts as fundamentally tied to sustainability and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Watch the whole conversation here or read the highlights below.

Castro describes the interconnectedness of local objectives serving the health of the public, the environment, and the economy, as well as how Orlando’s Community Action Plan aligns local priorities to the global goals toward urban sustainability. He also cites his city’s commitment to transparently report its progress in a Voluntary Local Review.

Castro discusses how Orlando’s response to the COVID-19 crisis aligns with the city’s ongoing efforts to address economic inequality and the climate crisis. In keeping with Mayor Buddy Dyer’s commitment in 200 7to make Orlando the greenest city in the U.S., Castro makes the case for a green recovery that boosts job creation and economic growth.

Resilience and sustainability risks do not fit neatly within jurisdictions and sectors: Collaboration is key. Castro describes how the city works with other regional actors, including Orlando’s businesses and the Economic Partnership, utility companies, and the transit authority to achieve its goals. A regional movement around the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council also helps align objectives across more than 25 cities and counties in the drive toward sustainability.

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