Thursday, September 18, 2008

Honolulu Economic Development Plan: An Integrated Vision of Infrastructure, Tourism, Energy, and Sustainability

Our four point plan to secure a bright economic future for Honolulu may be summarized as follows:

1. Bring our infrastructure to world-class standards.
A city in the current state of disrepair like ours simply cannot have a serious discussion about economic growth until our sewage is properly contained and treated, out water is clean and stays in the pipes, our roads provide a reasonably speedy service and are free of bumps and potholes, our trash is recycled, re-used and controlled; and our taxes are reduced so that business stay in business and low income folks are not forced into homelessness.

2. Develop sustainable energy supplies
to secure a low-cost expansion that is largely free of fossil fuels. Hawaii is blessed with abundant solar, wind, geothermal, and wave energy that can free us from the shackles of imported oil and coal. We had a tradition of sugarcane agriculture; sugarcane is the preferred source for making ethanol. Where is the wisdom in importing ethanol from Iowa?

3. Reposition our tourism to serve established and emerging niche markets.
For example, specialize in hosting professional and specialty conferences that bring in millions of high-value visitors from around the world. Many conferences can showcase Honolulu as the city of the future, a city that is ethnically integrated like no other, a city that is clean and in good repair, a city that is cooled and powered with green energy. We can lead the world in true eco-tourism by demonstrating what real sustainability looks like.

4. Reverse the brain drain
through the knowledge gained by giving this city the infrastructure and energy alternatives it deserves. Our university graduates will study, work in, and export sustainable technology to cities around the world, cities that will come to Honolulu to model what we have created in:

Renewable energy, trash and recycling factories, point to point fuel cell buses on high occupancy reversible expressways, intelligent transportation systems, green buildings, telecommuting and the integration of culture and the arts into technology and infrastructure.

Indeed trash factories and reversible lanes can be designed with beauty and cultural sensitivity in mind. See for example what the Figg Bridge company has done in Indian reservations and national parks.

We have solutions which combine form, function, efficiency, results, and state of the art technology. It’s worth staying home and making this beautiful place truly great.

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