Cole: Leverage scale for EcoDistricts
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
Naomi Cole is a program director working on EcoDistricts for the Portland Sustainability Institute.
Editors note: This is the first of 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. Interviews will appear on Sustainable Business Oregon on a regular basis leading up to the conference.
The team at Portland Sustainability Institute are quickly becoming the global experts at district-scale innovation. Their EcoDistricts model drives sustainable development in cities through stakeholder mobilization, social and infrastructure improvements across a neighborhood, and integration of best practices into the broader citywide cultural fabric. Three weeks from hosting their third annual EcoDistricts Summit, Program Manager Naomi Cole, talks about the increased value found in working at the district scale and why cities around the world are looking to Portland for a roadmap to sustainable development.
EcoDistricts: How does the development strategy change when working at the district scale rather than on a single structure?
Naomi Cole: It’s an entirely different strategy at a district scale. When working on a physical structure, the overall goal is pretty clear: a successful structure, like a new or retrofitted building, bioswale or energy system for example. When working at an EcoDistrict scale, there are potentially hundreds of projects and strategies to achieve the overall goal of environmental and social performance improvements.
At the district scale, we consider projects in the built environment as well as programs around people and behavior. And most importantly, the mechanisms for achieving these projects become much more complex because there are many more stakeholders than in a single structure. At a minimum, we have neighbors, developers, institutions, a city and utilities. Development at this scale requires a new process for making sustainable cities. We created EcoDistricts to provide a framework and approach for creating sustainable neighborhoods that includes new models of governance, assessment, project innovation, finance and policy.
@SustainableBzOR | firstname.lastname@example.org | 503.219.3438
If you are commenting using a Facebook account, your profile information may be displayed with your comment depending on your privacy settings. By leaving the 'Post to Facebook' box selected, your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below.