Anderson: EcoDistricts tap into neighborhood energy
Susan Anderson is the director of Portland's Bureau of of Planning and Sustainability.
Editors note: This is the second in the Scaling Innovation series of interviews that the folks behind the EcoDistrict Summit are conducting in advance of the conference coming up in Portland Oct. 26-28. The first interview was with the Portland Sustainability Institute's Naomi Cole.
This interview is with Susan Anderson, the director of the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.
EcoDistricts: What inspired the City of Portland to drive the development and adoption of a district-scale model for sustainable innovation—i.e., the EcoDistrict?
Susan Anderson: Essentially, EcoDistricts are small enough to act quickly but big enough to have a meaningful impact. They also offer the potential for collaboration at a multi-block scale, creating opportunities that aren’t possible either city-wide or on a building-by-building basis. Over the last 10 to 12 years Portland has seen incredible strides taken in building performance — we’re beginning to see net-zero energy buildings, for example. But we also know that a district-scale approach creates opportunities to link buildings and achieve performance together that is much better than each building can do individually. The whole district can be much more than the sum of its parts. Solutions like district energy, for example, become feasible.
Working at district scale also taps into a powerful identity — the neighborhood. In Portland, neighborhoods provide a strong organizing identity that connects and motivates residents and businesses. Creating an EcoDistrict can both benefit and contribute to neighborhood identity, and the community development that results can create a powerful positive feedback loop.
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