Plan-It Sustainably Journal

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EcoDistricts For Practitioners — Bay Area Workshop | OAKLAND

POSI TrainingSUMMARY. A half-day Workshop on EcoDistricts (Flyer), one leading approach for creating restorative neighborhoods and sustainable cities, Monday June 2, 2014, 8:30-NOON, MetroCenter Auditorium101 Eighth St., Oakland, CA ($145 early bird through May 12th, $170 afterwards, and a $25 APA member discount code: APABayAreaEcoDistricts), 3.5 AICP CM pending (also: 3.5 hours of LEED CE, AIA, and ASLA education credits pending). Register here.  We look forward to seeing you at the workshop.

OAKLAND HALF-DAY WORKSHOP (EcoDistrict’s description)  One learning option is an engaging half-day training course that EcoDistricts.org is offering in Oakland on Monday June 2, 2014, and in other cities around the country this year (see training page and calendar). The workshop will introduce participants to the EcoDistricts framework, a four-step process management tool to guide neighborhood sustainability projects. Urban developers, from public policymakers, urban planners and designers, architects, and developers to community-based organizations will learn practical governance, engagement, assessment, and project development insights and approaches.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES: 

  • Exploring the business case for ccodistricts and understanding why scale matters
  • Identifying the key opportunities of ecodistrict development
  • Understanding the EcoDistricts framework and performance areas
  • Appreciating practical governance and engagement models
  • Assessing an ecodistrict, setting goals, and prioritizing projects
  • Applying the ecodistrict approach.

AN INNOVATIVE GEM BUT NOT A “SILVER BULLET.” Although an innovative gem, ecodistricts are not a “silver bullet.” As powerful as they are, the source of that power is the innovative process that EcoDistricts.org has used to generate its current form, and that will inform its evolution as they/we embrace deeper challenges. Thus, the key lesson to take away from this workshop is not only the current approach, but the innovative process that produced it.

PRESENTER.  Adam Beck, Vice President, Programs, EcoDistricts, will lead the workshop. Adam has over 17 years of experience in environmental and social planning, with a passion for developing and implementing sustainability tools for built environment projects. Before joining EcoDistricts in 2013, Adam spent over three years with the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) developing the Green Star – Communities rating tool in collaboration with government and industry. This work is highly respected globally, being one of few rating tools that covers the full spectrum of sustainability issues across the built environment. Adam has also been involved with the World Green Building Council and the C40 Cities Initiative to strengthen global partnerships in sustainable urban development.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?  Anyone involved interested in sustainability and urban development, from public policymakers to urban planners and designers, architects, developers and advocates in community-based organizations, but especially public planners.

WORKSHOP DETAILS.

  • Location:  MetroCenter Auditorium, 101 Eighth St. Oakland CA 94607
  • Total Cost:
    • Early bird $145 (through May 12)
    • Regular $170
    • APA Member ($25 discount code for registering: APABayAreaEcoDistricts)
  • Credit:
    • AICP:  3.5 CM credits (pending)
    • Also: 3.5 hours of LEED CE, AIA, and ASLA education credits pending.
  • Other:
    • Beverages will be available in the room; also food/snacks at the adjacent café.

REGISTER here.  We look forward to seeing you at the workshop.

CONTACT.  Email Rina Brule, Program Manager, at rina@ecodistricts.org, for information on the workshop or EcoDistricts, or Scott Edmondson, AICP (scott-e@sustainability2030.com), the APA co-sponsor contact for APA-related information.

ECODISTRICT ORIGINS.  As part of the APA Sustainability Committee’s event series on innovation for sustainability planning (APA California Chapter Northerncontacted EcoDistrict.org to bring this introductory workshop to the Bay Area. EcoDistricts is one of the leading innovators for municipal sustainability. They have taken the planning stage by storm over the past few years. EcoDistricts emerged “organically” from the on-going innovation of the Portland Sustainability Institute (PSI). Founded in 2009, the PSI systematically brought together business, higher education, nonprofit and municipal leaders to drive a set of next-generation initiatives for urban sustainability in the Portland metro region. The goal—big, game-changing ideas that weave together community livability, ecological resiliency, and broad-based prosperity. They hoped that results would fuel business and policy innovation, enhance quality of life, and create cities and neighborhoods that are not just sustainable, but restorative.

INNOVATION FOR SUSTAINABILITY PLANNING. Emerging from PSI’s innovation was a new model of public-private partnership–ecodistricts. It emphasizes innovation and deployment of district-scale best practices to create the neighborhoods of the future–resilient, vibrant, resource efficient and just–and by so doing, the sustainable cities of the future.

SUSTAINABILITY PLANNING CHALLENGE.  City Makers—Unite, is the new EcoDistrict.org initiative’s challenge to urban sustainability champions. Around the world, more people live in cities than ever before. How we live in cities is one of the great challenges of our time. EcoDistricts’ mission is to inspire every city to remake itself sustainably from the neighborhood up by bringing together builders and entrepreneurs, policymakers and urban innovators to create vibrant neighborhoods, smart cities, and a healthy planet. The new EcoDistricts.org organization serves the expanding network of innovative practitioners and policymakers who are substantially enhancing their communities and helping the global green neighborhood movement grow.

PLATFORM FOR URBAN SUSTAINABILITY.  Urban development leaders familiar with the ecodistricts framework, from mayors to universities to affordable housing providers, begin to see ecodistricts as a powerful way to address many of their pressing challenges, from climate change to neighborhood degradation. In response, EcoDistricts.org is creating a platform for convening, advocacy, technical assistance, and research to inform and drive innovation. It is strategic in nature, collaborative in approach, and practical in application. At EcoDistricts.org you’ll find people, tools, services and training to help cities and urban development practitioners create the neighborhoods of the future — resilient, vibrant, resource efficient, and just.

TRAINING OPTIONS.  There are many ways for urban developers to learn about ecodistricts. The EcoDistricts.org’s approach shapes the way cities view sustainable development. They build capacity for nationwide change by providing the next generation of urban projects and leaders with the right tools: conceptual understanding, practical training, and resource support—from a faculty consisting of today’s leading industry experts.

BAY AREA EXPERIENCE–SF & Mountain View.   In 2012, two Bay Area cities attended the 3-day May intensive EcoDistrict Incubator Program, San Francisco and Mountain View (team/initial project and North Bay Shore Planning site). Over the past two years, and in collaboration with EcoDistricts.org, both cities have applied the concepts to their respective cities.

(Post by Scott T. Edmondson, AICP, Sustainability Committee member).

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