Sarah James & Associates

Institute for Eco-municipality Education & Assistance Receives Grant:

Ten US Mayors to Participate in First Ever Pan-European “Green Capital” Conference

(September 2, 2010 – Cambridge, MA) The Institute for Eco-municipality Education & Assistance (IEMEA) today announced it has received a grant, in partnership with the National League of Cities, to bring a delegation of ten U.S. mayors to participate in the first European Green Capital Conference, October 20-22, 2010, in  Stockholm.  [For more information, go to Events Page.]

Sarah James wins 2007 Dale Prize for Excellence in Urban and Regional Planning

The Department of Urban and Regional Planning at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona is pleased to announce the winners of the 2007 William R. and June Dale Prize for Excellence in Urban and Regional Planning. The Dale Prize recognizes planning excellence, creates dialogue between scholars and practitioners, and enriches the education of planning students. Each winner receives a $5,000 prize and spends two days on the campus.

Practitioner Prize: Ms. Sarah James. Distinction: Leading practitioner in bringing sustainable design concepts to local governments. See Announcement.

Rachel’s Democracy & Health News, issue #878

The Nordic Countries Know How To Create Sustainable Communities


Interested in learning how to lead a sustainable community initiative?

We are assessing interest in a possible 4-day training in how to lead a local ecomunicipality change process to be held in May-early June 2011. This sustainable communities approach has a substantial track record of successful implementation – possibly the most extensive in the world – in over 100 municipalities in Sweden, U.S., and around the world. The objective of the training is to prepare potential local leaders – including citizens, local officials, planners, or municipal staff – to be able to lead a process involving sustainability education, communication, and a strategic implementation process.  Previous trainings were held in 2007 and 2008.  If you are interested, email

See details and registration form from past events (35K Flyer.doc)

Video: Bringing Sustainable Practices to Your Community


This is a 50-minute video clip of Torbjorn Lahti and Sarah James giving a talk to City of Madison municipal employees. To  view it, visit  Click on Programs & Initiatives, then Eco-municipalities, then Resources. To start the video, click “Bringing Sustainable Practices to Your Community” presentation by Torbjorn Lahti and Sarah James to the City of Madison.”

Or view video directly.

Current News:

IEMEA, World Bank, & Mexico

Sarah James and Torbjorn Lahti through the Institute for Ecomunicipality Education & Assistance (IEMEA) are currently working with the World Bank to “mainstream” sustainable development throughout the Mexican National Ministry of Social Development (SEDESOL). SEDESOL departments and programs are using the sustainability objectives based upon the Natural Step framework to come up with systematic changes making the agency’s programs, policies, and regulations move toward sustainability.  Plans for creating two to three “pilot ecomunicipalities” in Mexico are also underway.  Keep posted to this or the IEMEA Web Page for future developments.

“How-to” Sustainability Manuals from IEMEA Now Available On-Line:

1) Open Planning for Sustainability: The Eco-municipality Process Guide, by Sarah James & Philip B. Herr, 2009.


Many books are now available about community sustainability is and why it is important. Many of these tell stories about good examples. Few, however, offer practical step-by-step processes for how to bring about community sustainability. This one does. Based upon scores of successful change processes in Sweden and the United States, this manual takes the learning from successful implementation and streamlines it into practical, step-by-step guidance for carrying out the sustainability change process. described in The Natural Step for Communities: How Cities & Towns Can Change to Sustainable Practices by Sarah James & Torbjörn Lahti (New Society Publishers, 2004).


This manual is available for an affordable price at Go to the lulu site, then search for Open Planning for Sustainability.



2) Grounding the Vision: The Eco-municipality Education Guide, by Torbjörn Lahti, with contributions by Ira Sundberg, 2007.


Scores of communities, local governments and organizations have brought citizens and staff a clearer understanding of what sustainability means in ecological, economic, and social terms using this educational manual. The ‘EE Guide’ was the primary training tool used by many if not most of the Swedish eco-municipalities, now 25 per cent of all municipalities in Sweden. The Natural Step framework is a central tenet in the educational material. The Guide is now available to a wider audience and is used in national sustainability trainings.


This manual is available for an affordable price at Go to the lulu site, then search for Grounding the Vision or Torbjörn Lahti.