Public Works has devised next generation regulatory and compliance strategies for a wide range of areas, including environmental, labor, and housing standards.  These approaches help governments target enforcement resources on the worst offenders while encouraging compliance among the rest through cooperative means.  Our strategies include incentives for going beyond minimal compliance, education and outreach, labor-management cooperation, and other creative solutions.

Here is some of what we've done ...

Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

The Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability asked Public Works to help

the City of Portland better define indicators and metrics of the resilience and

sustainability of its food system.


Specifically, we provided technical assistance in:

     1) Defining sustainability and resilience with respect to food systems;

     2) Researching best practices from other cities;  

     3) Identifying metrics that Portland could use.

Arizona Children’s Environmental Health


In 2003, Public Works created an outline of potential programs and strategies to improve

children’s environmental health in Arizona.  Our recommendations were organized around

each of then-Governor Napolitano’s four immediate goals for the Children’s Environmental

Health Project: Coordination, Assessment, Reduction and Education, and suggested both

short-term and longer-term initiatives.  


Read the full outline here: AZ Children’s Environmental Health.

New Mexico Water Policy Review

To assist New Mexico in expanding and implementing its Year of Water initiative,

Public Works conducted research and analysis from other jurisdictions nationally

and globally to support efforts in New Mexico to advance water policy thinking.

Our team researched innovative and best practices from around the world, and

conducted critical analyses of those findings.  

Read the full report here:  New Mexico Water Policy Review.


In 2005, Public Works developed a “Smart Growth Action Plan” for Louisiana

that then-Governor Blanco and the agencies under her jurisdiction could

implement over the next year. All of our proposed programs and policies  

focused primarily on initiatives that would create jobs and save taxpayer dollars

while creating a better quality of life and environment in Louisiana. The research

memorandum described a series of programs and policies the Governor could

adopt over the short term (next 90 days), the medium term and the long term.


Louisiana Smart Growth Action Plan

California Innovations for Environmental Excellence

In this White Paper written for the State of California, the Public Works team

describes a strategy and outlines a process through which California can take a

leadership role in implementing a “next generation” regulatory approach that

will serve as a model for other states. The report describes a three-pronged

approach through which Cal/EPA might best modify and improve its traditional

regulatory model.  The “Innovations” umbrella covers a broad mix of policy,

program and process areas that fall into three separate (but related) general categories: permits, process and compliance.  


Read the full report here: CA Innovations for Environmental Excellence.

Highights of Other Sustainable Projects

  • The City of Auburn, Washington worked with Public Works to design a new compliance strategy for cleaning up problem properties in both its multi-unit and single-family housing markets.  We leveraged the city’s strong social capital but limited finances to restore more livable communities.

  • In Seattle, Public Works helped the city’s economic development department to streamline its permitting process to make it more business friendly while improving environmental outcomes.

  • Public Works designed and helped to enact a new Brownfields law in California hailed by the nationwide Superfund Report as “novel,” “unique,” and “precedent-setting.”  Our program design made funding available for businesses to turn profits by converting polluted properties into clean, new developments and pleased environmentalists by making sure more cleanups occurred.