Sustainability in public works means seeking a balanced approach for a vibrant community today and tomorrow, and it is accomplished by the efficient delivery of infrastructure in an environmentally and socially responsible way that ensures the best economic choice in the long term.

In order to drive transformation in the management of public works to support this balanced approach, the APWA Center for Sustainability (C4S) was created in 2008 to help public works professionals confront the challenges facing their communities.

In establishing the APWA Center for Sustainability (C4S), the APWA Board of Directors recognized that shrinking local budgets, increased cost of materials, more engaged and better informed stakeholders and new regulatory mandates confront public works professionals and make their daily jobs more challenging. These challenges require a new approach to public works management that focuses on innovative, collaborative and whole systems thinking.

The 12 members of the C4S Leadership Group identify and develop tools and best practices to ensure APWA becomes the driving force for sustainability in public works management while growing the next generation of public works leaders with strong sustainability credentials and commitment. Four long term priorities guide the work of C4S:

  1. establish and promote a framework for sustainability to assist public works professionals in taking a systems approach to their projects;
  2. develop professional development training and education opportunities for APWA members;
  3. identify strategic partners at the federal, state and local levels to leverage resources and promote change; and
  4. advocate for sustainability principles at the federal, state and local levels of government.

C4S welcomes the active participation of all APWA members. To learn more, contact Anne Jackson (

To download a copy of the APWA Center for Sustainability (C4S) brochure click here.

To read the 2008 APWA Sustainability Task Force Report recommending the creation of the APWA Center for Sustainability (C4S), click here.

The video below from the 2011 International Public Works Congress & Exposition features, Mary Anderson, Director of Public Services for the Village of Niles, Illinois, who continues the conversation about sustainability, C4S, and issues public works teams are facing related to sustainability.