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Frequently Asked Questions

Q What is the role of Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities?
A Around the world there is a growing recognition that we cannot continue to develop our cities and communities the way we have in the past. If we are going to halt the decline, or maintain, or improve our living standards in the future, new approaches to development must be implemented. Intuitively, we know that changes are needed to provide opportunities for the long-term future and, more immediately, that the environment we experience from day-to-day can be improved significantly. Improving the living environment around us is a challenge in itself; development which also provides for the long-term is referred to as sustainable development. In order to achieve sustainable community development, it is imperative that we reverse the decline in the natural and built environment, bringing human systems into balance with natural systems.

To this end, the Joslyn Institute has identified the following goals and priorities:

  • To search for connections and relationships between issues of land, water, populations and culture, technology and the environment.
  • To promote an integrated approach to sustainability through dialogue, visioning, partnership and coordination.
  • To bring a design approach not only to improving the living environment, but also to an integrated decision-making process.
  • To promote public participation to create and work toward a shared vision for the future.
  • To facilitate learning from and the transfer of best practices for improving the living environment.
  • To develop indicators of sustainability and to monitor our progress.


Q What is the Joslyn Institute’s relationship with the University of Nebraska?

A Although the Joslyn Institute was created by the University of Nebraska College of Architecture, today it is an independent non-profit organization. Because our work involves studying issues of land, water, populations and culture, technology and the environment, many of our projects bring together professionals from all facets of community planning and development, including professors and students from the University of Nebraska, in Lincoln, Omaha, and the Medical Center. It is our intention to return the Institute to management by the University at some point in the future.

Q What is sustainable design?
A Sustainable design is development which honors nature, conserves resources, and provides community services and infrastructure without unnecessary duplication, and without limiting the resources available to future generations.

Q Is the Institute concerned only with Nebraska and the Midwest?
A The Joslyn Institute engages in sustainable development at the architectural, urban and regional scales. Forging partnerships between public, non-profit, and private organizations, the Institute provides conceptual recommendations and direction toward sustainable development. The Joslyn Institute’s projects and initiatives may be located locally, regionally, nationally, or internationally. The projects conducted by the Institute serve not only as real projects with tangible results but also as models of sustainable development for national and international application. As a partner in the United Nation’s Best Practices and Local Leadership Program, the Institute is a point of dissemination for best management practices in the built environment on an international basis.

Q What is the source of funding and support for the Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities?
A The Joslyn Institute is a 501(c)3 non-profit, and, as such, we accept tax-deductible donations, both for ongoing support and for specific sponsorship projects. Otherwise the projects, research, and educational endeavors of the Institute are supported from specific applications to foundations and units of government for grants and contracts. The Institute also strives to support much of its work with the assistance of interns and volunteers.

Q Can the Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities accommodate any long-term interests for personal/professional research in the fields of green design and/or sustainable development?
A The original Charter for JCI outlines an objective to accommodate Joslyn Institute Fellows, who may wish to be affiliated with the personnel and the resources of the Institute for some defined period of work/study. Each case must be presented to the President of the Institute and subsequently approved by the Board of Directors.