What We Do
The EcoDistricts Institute is a three-day executive level training program for municipal, NGO and development professionals that are leading district-scale sustainable development projects across North America. Through a mix of interactive plenary presentations and facilitated work sessions, the Institute brings together experts in neighborhood planning, urban design, green infrastructure, project finance and public policy to present best practices and tools to help cities work effectively with key private, nonprofit and academic partners to implement a sustainable neighborhood strategy for their community.
2012 EcoDistricts Institute
On May 8 – 10, 2012, PoSI hosted 10 North American cities in Portland for the inaugural EcoDistricts Institute. Bringing together some of our finest municipal, NGO and private sector district-scale redevelopment innovators in North America —the Institute is creating a growing network of EcoDistrict leaders. The Institute introduced participants to PoSI’s EcoDistricts Framework that includes a set of implementation tools and strategies to encourage multi-sector collaboration, integrated project planning and assessment, and impmenetation of district scale best practices in areas of urban design, transportation, and water and energy management. We explored new tools to support systems thinking across a variety of disciplines from infrastructure delivery to community development and project finance.
2012 participant cities included Austin, Bellingham, Boston, Charlotte, Cleveland, Guadalajara Mexico, Mountain View, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Vancouver (University of British Columbia).
Collectively the EcoDistricts Institute brought together 51 leaders and innovators from 10 cities across North America and 27 industry experts to shape the future of green neighborhood development. During the three days, various leaders provided expert background and context for the group sessions; Joe Cortright, Economist at Impresa analyzed the green dividend of cities; Nick Barham, Global Director at Wieden + Kennedy spoke to the importance of branding cities in an authentic manner; Erin Barnes, co-founder of ioby described a on-line giving platform platform to connect neighborhood civic entrepreneurs and change agents to local resources. Trent Berry focused on the value of district scale infrastructure as compared to traditional methods—doing more with less. Bert Gregory shared visions of cities operating like forests through intentional, restorative biophilia urban design.
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Why an Institute?
A growing group of municipal policy makers, urban designers and community development professionals recognize that the neighborhood is an important scale to test and implement "actionable" sustainability strategies — neighborhoods are small enough to innovate quickly and big enough to have a meaningful impact. However, there is a shortage of processes and tools to support sustainable neighborhood development, requiring early adopter cities to go it alone.
The EcoDistricts Institute is a peer-learning workshop designed to help city teams overcome these barriers and design an actionable sustainable neighborhood strategy for their own community. We hope that the first EcoDistricts Institute is only the beginning of a long history of future institutes in North America and beyond.
Contact , Education Coordinator, 503-922-1661.