Meet the Steering Committee: Laura Hyneman, Mesa’s Deputy Director of Development & Sustainability

The Sustainable Cities Network (SCN) Steering Committee is a group of Arizona's leading representatives and Arizona State University experts pursuing sustainability initiatives. The committee shares their best practices to encourage collaborative action for each city, town, county, or tribal community. You can read more about the committee and its members here

This week, we’re highlighting Steering Committee Chair Laura Hyneman! Laura began her journey with sustainability through her career as an architect in St. Louis and later moved to Mesa. She recalls Mesa’s “fast growing community” inspiring her to become a certified urban planner. Six years ago, she joined Mesa’s passionate Environmental & Sustainability team and began participating with SCN.

Mesa is a founding member of SCN and continues to participate in the monthly meetings discussing local solutions for sustainability challenges; such as the urban heat island effect, water resources, and recycling strategies. The Steering Committee allows members to leverage limited resources, as Laura said, “What works in one City, can work in others. Mesa finds value in sharing ideas and learning from our peers.” In addition to the Steering Committee, SCN has workgroups like Climate & Resilience, Electric Vehicles, Green Infrastructure and more that allow communities and ASU to collaborate with one another on focused topics. 

While working with SCN, Mesa has gained, “Strong communitywide support for Mesa’s Climate Action Plan (MCAP) by residents, businesses, and city staff and people’s commitment to take action.  Mesa thanks SCN members for their support, ideas and commitment to these pressing issues.” 

We asked Laura if money was no option, what sustainability project would she undertake? “I don’t think there is one change or project.  Our purpose is to build sustainable programs that serve the community so Mesa continues to be a vibrant, prosperous, and thriving city for generations to come. We need to focus on being good stewards of our resources…Money is always a factor, and good programs are sustainable.”

In the future, Mesa would like to work with ASU to engage with youth. Laura is looking to build a user-friendly platform to access data and encourage innovation and environmental awareness; in addition, to supporting overburdened communities with practical solutions to equity challenges including access to healthy foods. 

Written by Catelyn Nieves, SCN Program Assistant

The ASU Sustainable Cities Network (SCN) is an innovative education and outreach program within the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Future Laboratory, created to work with communities to strengthen sustainability in the region and across Arizona. Comprised of Arizona city, town, county and tribal community practitioners and leaders, SCN is a vehicle for sharing knowledge, identifying best practices, coordinating planning and actions, and fostering long-term partnerships. Created as a bridge between ASU research and local sustainability challenges, SCN participants and partners work together to streamline and green city operation and advance local and regional sustainability and resilience measures.