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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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SUSTAINABILITY. Sustainability is a difficult concept to define since it has multiple components. At its most elemental level, the concept could be understood as meaning the wise use of resources to avoid waste.

People like Wayne Andrew NORMAN, Sr. were among the first to encourage this kind of conservation. He championed such efforts as the preservation of the ORPHEUM and the RYAN HOUSE. The buildings in the CABLE CAR SQUARE were saved through a corporation Norman established in 1973 that purchased eighteen buildings and sold them for restoration. The conversion of elegant private homes into multiple apartments soon followed. Putting aside issues like the resulting damage to the interior of the building due to remodeling, the building was reused rather than demolished.

The bright yellow recycling containers were first made available to citizens in the 1980s. These provided residents the opportunity to remove many forms of plastic, glass, and paper from the landfill. These materials were gathered weekly by the city on regular trash collection dates.

Sustainability gathered increased acceptance during the administrations of MAYOR Duggan and Buol. In 2006 Mayor Buol and the city council launched Sustainable Dubuque aimed at encouraging teamwork among city departments and the community. Because of this and other initiatives, Dubuque was awarded millions of dollars in grants to aid sustainability procedures. The National Trust for Historic Preservation designated the city as one of its "Green Labs."

Topics related to sustainability include the following: