The American Institute of Architects strongly supports adaptive reuse of historic buildings, a smart approach to construction both for its green elements and the preservation of history. Adaptive re-use is one of many tools that can be used for sustainable economic development The Westgate Lofts in Salt Lake City, was completed a few years ago, and involved converting an old warehouse building to mixed-use housing and retail spaces. Prince George's County needs a sustainable economic development policy that cleverly takes advantage of what is has and smartly uses these resources to move forward. Adaptive re-use is not the only tool let alone a magic bullet for the challenges that face our county. Understanding the underlying precepts of sustainable economic development is the first and most important step towards finding the tools to build a thriving, exciting and growing Prince George's County, Maryland.
So what is sustainable economic development? What it is not is short sighted, near-term, quick-fix projects touted as solutions to economic and social problems. Sustainable economic development in Prince George's County should be about promoting the clustering of businesses that offer 21st century products and services, such as energy, water, and resource efficiency; renewable energy; alternative transportation; and pollution (waste) prevention and recycling. Sustainable economic development in Prince George's County should not be always about creating new development in open spaces where there is no infrastructure currently, but should be focused on the enhancement of the environmental and financial performance of existing firms where existing infrastructure can be enhanced. Sustainable economic development in Prince George's County should not be about designing and building faculties with a ten year operational life, but dreaming of and building walkable, mixed-use, mixedincome, transit-oriented real estate development – both infill and new communities. And sustainable economic development in Prince George's County should include more than just the few members of the historic political machine; rather sustainable economic development in Prince George's County should be guided by policies that include the wants of the wealthy but the dreams of underserved or ignored communities with the appropriate business acceleration services and engagement of low- and moderate-income employees and residents in saving money through ecological efficiency. Prince George's County needs to focus on the strengths it has in its existing diversity of people and access to organizations and become the optimal place for green and clean tech businesses to start-up, locate, expand, and grow over the long term.
Lon term is the watch word here, not the promise of short term projects that promise over-night solutions and deliver more problems. Because new economic thought puts the citizen and the common good at the center of its concerns, leaders in Prince George's County need to look in new directions for new visions of what is possible. The challenging of truths still recently considered to be universal has swept through the world of pure science and now of economics but remains distant and foreign even obscure to the county. The clash between the accepted truths of yesterday's economics and the new ideas
launched by the current of sustainable development brings up short a number of certainties and beliefs solidly anchored in our county's elite's system of thinking. A 2005 report entitled The New Economics of Sustainable Development by James Robertson lays out concisely the objectives which Prince George's County might at least consider: 
· systematic empowerment of people (as opposed to making and keeping them dependent), as the basis for people-centered development;
· systematic conservation of resources and environment, as the basis for environmentally sustainable development;
· evolution from a “wealth of nations” model of economic life to a one-world model, and from today's inter-national economy to an ecologically sustainable, decentralizing, multi-level one-world economic system;
· restoration of political and ethical factors to a central place in economic life and thought;
· respect for qualitative values, not just quantitative values;
· respect for feminine values, not just masculine ones.
|Adaptive re-use in Salt Lake City; The Westgate Lofts Copyright © Lloyd Architects, All Rights Reserved|
 Sustainable Economic Development: Initiatives, Programs, And Strategies For Cities And Regions. http://www.globalurban.org/Sustainable%20Economic%20Development.pdf
 James Robertson. 2005. The New Economics of Sustainable Development. http://www.jamesrobertson.com/book/neweconomicsofsustainabledevelopment.pdf