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Green-lighting Green Tech

Published: 04/9/2021




Green-lighting Green Tech

An Editorial by Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson

As Riverside’s 18th Mayor, I come to the mayoral role with a very different background from that of my predecessors. A common thread of government experience and often experience in the education sector are frequent launch pads into elected service—both of which I have served in. However, what is not typical to this somewhat preformed mold, is a professional background in environmental science, green technology, and habitat preservation—all of which have been my professional work for the last thirty years. This cause of preserving and protecting our planet for the future has direct, tangible crossovers to my role as mayor and what my administration will prioritize.

Riverside is the fastest growing region in the nation and is projected to grow 44% by 2050. The City is highly sought after because of our untapped potential, entrepreneurial spirit, cultural vibrancy, and world-class education institutions. During my State of the City address I shared the excitement of a new job sector launching in Riverside. A job sector that will be rooted in the green and clean technology industries of our future. Utilizing our local higher education institutions to propel these industries in Riverside is critical.

What has ignited the clean tech movement for Riverside has been the relocation of the Southern California Headquarters of the Air Resources Board. This move builds upon previous successes of businesses like SolarMax and SunSpark—which share a similar sustainability mission.

One of the greatest attractions for securing the Air Resources Board was UC Riverside, one of 4 local colleges which provides our City with local, qualified talent in these desirable 21st century fields. UC Riverside has extensive expertise in sustainability, clean tech, and climate science and UCR’s sustainability expertise is implemented university-wide, across areas of study.

Inland Southern California businesses, governments, and communities are looking for initiatives that will transform the region into an engine of innovation and growth. With that regional desire in mind, UCR created “OASIS” to fill this need–Opportunities to Advance Sustainability, Innovation, and Social Inclusion.

OASIS will be an innovation hub on the campus of UCR focused on sustainability and social inclusion. We know that Inland Southern California sits at the nexus of sectors that impact the environment, qualify of life, and social mobility. The goal is to create a location—an economic ecosystem—that will leverage the university’s strengths. State-of-the-art facilities and living laboratories will be created to support research, entrepreneurs, and catalyze the creation of innovative startups. This goal will work in tandem with the creation of a skilled workforce to fulfill the needs caused by technological changes and prioritize underserved populations.

My team and I have begun working with OASIS leaders along with potential businesses and investors to jump start this important effort. What we know is that with the completion of the California Air Resources Board in the spring and the implementation of OASIS, Riverside will be an international center for green and clean technology.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021 at 1 p.m. UCR will be presenting the OASIS concept to the Riverside City Council for their feedback. As Mayor, I enthusiastically support this economic development initiative and will use my professional qualifications, paired with the influence of the mayoral title, to see this effort come to fruition—for our City’s economy and for our planet’s future.