Welcome to the City of Iowa City Sustainability webpage! 

Iowa City is committed to being a leader in sustainable community development. Sustainability Coordinator Brenda Nations helps ensure that Iowa City's public services and planning efforts are rooted in sustainable principles. 

The City of Iowa City received a 4-STAR Community Rating for sustainability excellence by being formally certified in the STAR Community Rating System, or Sustainability Tools for Assessing and Rating Communities. Learn more about Iowa City's current rating, and efforts to improve to its sustainability practices by visiting,

We invite you to browse our pages and learn more about Iowa City's sustainability efforts:

Sustainability Initiatives and Reports  

Take action by participating in current sustainability programs and activities. Browse reports and become educated about Iowa City's current climate situation. 

Featured projects: 

Sustainable Iowa City Newsletter 

Stay up-to-date with sustainability news in Iowa City by subscribing to the Sustainable Iowa City newsletter at Enter your e-mail and check the sustainability box. 

Stay Connected 

Follow the City of Iowa City on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram using #SustainableIC
Contact the Sustainability Coordinator at or 319-887-6161

Sustainability Spotlight 

Learn more about Iowa City's sustainability superstars who are making our community a better place to live, work and play. 

October Feature:  Heather Sander, an assistant professor at the University of Iowa researching urban ecosystems

What sustainability means to me: 
Heather Sander, an assistant professor at the University of Iowa researching urban ecosystems

I view sustainability as multifaceted, incorporating present and future human and natural systems.  These systems range from economic and social systems to ecosystems and are highly interconnected.  Implementing sustainability means ensuring that all of these systems continue to function in the long and short-term, which is a challenging and complex task.

My actions to promote sustainability:

I work to promote urban sustainability through my research as well as through outreach.  Managing cities sustainably poses many problems, and we have just begun to understand urban sustainability and resilience. Translating this knowledge into practice is even more challenging. My research examines urban ecosystems and particularly explores relationships among urban vegetation, human well-being, and urban wildlife.  Through this research I hope to help build a foundation for managing cities sustainably by identifying ways in which we can manage vegetation in cities to simultaneously benefit human health and quality-of-life and promote biodiversity conservation.  I work to bring this into real world practice, for example by collaborating with communities in the Twin Cities of Minnesota and through the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities, to inform planning and policy making to build more sustainable urban landscapes.   

I also consider building basic sustainability literacy to be a key part of advancing sustainability.  Before I went to graduate school, I was a secondary school science teacher and environmental educator.  Environmental education remains near and dear to my heart. I consider teaching that connects students to the natural world and helps them to understand how humans influence and are influenced by their environment to be of critical importance in today’s highly human-influenced earth system.  I thus also promote sustainability through my teaching at the University of Iowa and through outreach to elementary school and community groups.

Other efforts we can consider to advance sustainability:

Advancing sustainability requires collaborations between the research community, practitioners, and the general public.  Bringing these groups together is absolutely necessary to the advancement of sustainability, but is really challenging.  We need to create opportunities to make these connections more possible.



Sustainability Services