Dearborn Mayor Guido Leads Tampa Summit on Building Clean, Livable Cities
By Jennifer DeLong and Tony Iallonardo
and city officials gathered in Tampa, Florida on October 21 and 22 for the
first-ever National Summit to address “Building Clean, Livable
Cities.” The summit provided a forum for mayors and public officials to
discuss their best practices for reducing litter and other forms of urban
environmental blight. The summit’s organizers believe that cleaning up
litter should be a major urban concern.
Summit was sponsored by the Urban Litter Partnership, a strategic alliance
between The U.S. Conference of Mayors and Keep America Beautiful, Inc. (KAB).
More than 160 participants representing approximately 65 cities attended
the Summit, including mayors, environmental commissioners, solid waste
directors, Keep America Beautiful city and statewide affiliate program
directors, and other urban leaders from the public, private and non-profit
Mayor Michael A. Guido presided over the meeting, and was assisted by host
Tampa Mayor Dick A. Greco. They both expressed the need for cities to
develop innovative solutions for addressing urban blight in order maintain
a clean environment for residents and businesses residing there. Mayor
Greco noted that the Summit addressed the “dramatic impacts that litter,
illegal dumping, and other types of environmental blight have upon our
inner-city neighborhoods and sharing the most cost-effective ways to
preserve the integrity of our cities, making them cleaner and safer for
Guido echoed those remarks, declaring that “litter and other types of
environmental blight attract crime and repel economic development.” He
praised the efforts of the Urban Litter Partnership, asserting that by
“sharing information on latest research and discussing best practices
for effective partnerships, increased enforcement, and program
sustainability, mayors can conquer these problems in our cities. The
information presented at the Summit empowers cities with successful
approaches to enhancing city livability,” Mayor Guido said.
the Summit, Mayor Guido and Mayor Greco announced the release of a new
Best Practices Guide, entitled Urban Partnerships to Prevent Litter and
Illegal Dumping, released from The U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Best
Practices Center. The guide spotlights effective and innovative urban
programs that can be adapted for use in cities nationwide. This 60-page
“best practices” guide provides a summary of programs under way in 12
American cities [See Best Practices sidebar for more information].
the Summit, participants also learned about many other strategies and
programs designed to effectively address litter and urban blight. Included
below are highlights from the two-day Summit:
first-year results of Houston’s “Clean Neighborhoods” program were
presented by Solid Waste Director Everett Bass. Houston Mayor Lee P. Brown
agreed to conduct the pilot program in his city. The Houston Clean
Neighborhoods Pilot Program report, produced by the Urban Litter
Partnership, documents the City’s and Keep Houston Beautiful’s
initiatives to develop a neighborhood-based, self-sustaining approach to
preventing litter, illegal dumping and graffiti.
County Judge Larry Potter discussed the benefits of the environmental
court developed during the 1980s in Memphis, and one of the first of its
kind in the country. He moderated a panel discussion on effective
approaches to enforcement of environmental crimes. Other panelists
participating in that discussion included Dr. George Kelling, developer of
the “broken windows” theory, Miami-Dade Police Department Lieutenant
Scott Dennis, and Norfolk Environmental Commission Chairman Jim English.
Mr. English also presented information on Norfolk’s community-based
environmental enforcement program.
Curnow, an international Australian researcher renowned for his study of
littering behavior, presented the results of his latest research project.
This research focused upon observing what people say about their littering
behavior and compared it to what those same people actually do. This
research concluded that people’s attitudes about litter often differ
from whether they actually litter or not. He recommended that educational
programs be developed to make people more aware of various types of litter
and the processes for proper disposal. (To obtain a copy of this report,
please contact Jennifer DeLong at 202.861.6776.)
Schert, Executive Director of the Florida Center for Solid and Hazardous
Waste Management presented new research on the real costs of litter to
businesses in its state, concluding that they spend an annual average of
$2,400 to clean up litter. During this session, William P. Moline,
Director of Operations for the Tampa Downtown Partnership discussed how
businesses can successfully develop Business Improvement Districts (BID)
to partner together on addressing litter and other blight issues in
Holt, Deputy Commissioner for the City of Chicago’s Department of
Environment, presented its ‘Best Practices’ enforcement program for
illegal dumping. Paul Ruesch of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Region 5 also introduced a new assessment tool for cities to use in
measuring and evaluating the real costs of illegal dumping in their
municipalities. This session included a panel discussion with
representatives from Chicago, Detroit, and Norfolk, who responded to
questions about various aspects of prevention, community outreach and
support, prosecution & sustainability of enforcement programs.
President Ray Empson described a potential, new KAB litter measurement
tool, called the “KAB Litter Index,” and discussed the preliminary
results of tests of the tool that were conducted this past year in Houston
and other KAB-affiliated cities.
Best Practices presentations were conducted by John Hall, Deputy Mayor of
Indianapolis, Amy Kuhn, Special Assistant for the City of Columbus, Robert
Berger, Director in Toledo’s Department of Neighborhoods, and Clarena
Tolson, Deputy Commissioner of Streets and Sanitation for the City of
National Summit and Best Practices Guide are the result of a year-long
partnership with Keep America Beautiful, Inc. In the spring of 1998, The
U.S. Conference of Mayors established the partnership with Keep America
Beautiful (KAB) to analyze the impacts of litter and other types of
environmental blight in urban areas and develop new urban strategies for
preventing it. KAB is a nonprofit organization with nearly 500
community-based affiliates nationwide that help support local litter
prevention programs and educational outreach.
Urban Litter Partnership’s activities included research about litter
prevention programs through surveys and public forums, development of a
new litter measurement tool, support for the Houston pilot project headed
up by Mayor Lee P. Brown, and the staging of the National Summit to bring
attention to the litter issue and its impacts on urban areas.
Urban Litter Partnership gratefully acknowledges the support of its
sponsors: American Plastics Council, Anheuser-Busch Companies, EIA
Foundation, Florida Center for Solid and Hazardous Waste Management,
Grocery Manufacturers of America, ITW Hi-Cone, McDonalds’ Corporation,
National Soft Drink Association, Philip Morris U.S.A., Polystyrene
Packaging Council, Procter & Gamble, and Tenneco Packaging.