Posts Tagged ‘district scale’

The EcoDistricts Summit 2012

November 14, 2012

The second annual EcoDistricts Summit came to a close just under a month ago on October 26, 2012 at Portland State University’s Smith Center. Produced by the Portland Sustainability Institute (PoSI) the Summit is one of the world’s leading conferences dedicated to urban and district-scale sustainability exploring topics such as district energy, water utilities, net-zero buildings, smart grid, networked transportation, urban ecosystem services and zero waste. We had a fantastic time working behind the scenes and assisting in the execution of this year’s summit. Check out the action from the Summit and keep your eye out for EcoDistricts 2013!

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EcoDistricts ’11: Photos Are In!

November 10, 2011

Photos from the 2011 EcoDistricts Summit are in! We’re excited to share snapshots from the best moments of this year’s event. Many thanks to event photographer, Edis Jurcys Photography for capturing the spirit of a very invigorating and thought-provoking event!

Day 1

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Day 2

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EcoDistricts Summit ’11: PoSI’s Naomi Cole on The Compelling Nature of District-Scale

October 18, 2011

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.

EcoD: What is the most surprising unforeseen challenge you’ve encountered since working at the district scale and what solution or solutions have you discovered to address it?

NC: The process takes a long time. Stakeholder engagement and buy-in is, in many ways, the most critical step, and that process is dynamic and difficult to control. After we built our EcoDistricts framework we thought we’d be able to progress relatively efficiently in our pilot districts. But the process of engaging neighbors, formalizing partnerships, committing resources and building local capacity is very process heavy and takes time. Engagement has to be done right in order to get to the next steps of assessment and project implementation, which is where we all want to be.

EcoD: What is the single biggest driver of success for the development of an EcoDistrict? Why is it so important?

NC: There are two equally important drivers for success and they are addressed by our first two phases of EcoDistrict development: district organization and district assessment. The district organization process is what I described in the last question — engagement, vision, partnerships, capacity, and governance of stakeholders in an EcoDistrict. If this is done right, the next steps fall into place. The second, and equally critical, driver of success is an effective assessment process to prioritize projects. The biggest question once an EcoDistrict is organized is, “what are the right projects?” An integrated sustainability assessment across a neighborhood is critical for determining high impact projects, low-hanging fruit, and long-term ambitious investments. An effective assessment provides a roadmap for ongoing district sustainability improvements.

EcoD: Are EcoDistricts just a sum of their parts, in terms of benefits, or do the positive impacts grow exponentially when addressed as a collective unit?

NC: Definitely the latter. In fact, we often say, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” to describe the value proposition for EcoDistricts. The intention behind EcoDistricts is a more integrated approach to developing our cities. By thinking district-wide across multiple areas of performance, we see opportunities for investments to do many things at once. Adding bioswales to sidewalks, for example, provides a timely opportunity to lay infrastructure for district utilities, saving huge capital costs by tearing up streets only once. A neighborhood building retrofit program can save energy while also improving comfort, saving on utility bills, creating jobs and increasing property value. We focus on the district scale because it’s a compelling size — small enough to innovate quickly but big enough for meaningful results.

EcoD: What drew you to working at the district scale? Why is this concept so enticing to you personally?

NC: Neighborhoods are the building blocks of cities, so it’s the next scale (beyond buildings) that we have to tackle if we’re going to achieve the kind of ambitious city and regional sustainability goals adopted around the world. My background is in architecture, and I was drawn to architecture because the built environment provides an opportunity to create better places for people and nature. After working on buildings for a few years, I quickly realized that we could only accomplish so much within the walls of a structure. The next opportunity for the sustainability industry is neighborhoods because of the compelling scale.

Social networks enable change, buildings have the potential to share systems, and public spaces are ripe to create community and provide ecosystem services. I like the complexity of the neighborhood scale because we are challenged to consider a range of social, technical, financial and political issues that don’t come up at the building scale, but feel more manageable to address than at a citywide scale.

EcoD: If you could paint a picture of this nation’s cities in 20 years — how does the EcoDistrict fit in? What kind of progress and results do you hope to see over that time as a result of district scale innovation and development? Is there an end game or set of goals PoSI is working towards?

NC: EcoDistricts are a critical step towards eco cities. They aren’t an end in themselves but an important step on the path towards scaling up what works in urban sustainability innovation to address the myriad challenges faced by metropolitan areas. So many sustainability successes are still seen as boutique projects and not transferable. Our goal is not for every neighborhood to become its own independent EcoDistrict. Through EcoDistricts, we aim to innovate at the neighborhood scale to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Then we hope to ultimately make a particular practice, whether it’s neighborhood governance or assessment or finance, become the new norm for how cities operate.

EcoD: What do you think is so compelling about Portland’s EcoDistrict model? Why are cities around the world turning to the Rose City for guidance in developing their own district scale projects?

NC: I think the thing that’s compelling about our work is that we’ve created a framework – a “how to” approach – for getting to sustainable neighborhoods. Every city is looking for this. And while we know what we’ve got now isn’t perfect, it’s the best of what’s out there and it captures lessons learned and case studies from sustainable neighborhood projects around the world. While many cities work in specific neighborhoods with ambitious sustainability goals, we’ve taken a broad approach by developing a transferable framework that we hope can be adopted by cities around the world. In addition, as we respond to inquiries about EcoDistricts, we find that cities are equally interested in our expertise as they are in our leadership in creating learning networks and a place to share lessons learned in creating sustainable neighborhoods.

Naomi Cole is the program manager for Portland Sustainability Institute (PoSI) and a featured speaker at the third annual 2011 EcoDistricts Summit, October 26-28 in Portland, Oregon. Learn more about PoSI and their EcoDistricts model at pdxinstitute.org. Find details on the 2011 EcoDistricts Summit and register at ecodistrictssummit.com.

EcoDistricts Summit 2011: Brian Geller on District Scale Sustainable Development and Seattle 2030 District Goals

June 28, 2011

There’s only so much impact a single green building can make on its own. The solution, if we still want to reach ambitious goals on energy efficiency, waste reduction and carbon neutrality? Start looking at things from a district or neighborhood perspective. The EcoDistricts concept does just that. By addressing these challenges at a higher level—in city planning and regional development—impacts grow exponentially compared to ad hoc development of sustainable buildings and infrastructure. Brian Geller, Founder and Executive Director of the Seattle 2030 District, explains the benefits and advantages to this approach and outlines his vision for the cities of the future.

Social Enterprises: There seems to be a lot of momentum in cities, especially those in the Pacific Northwest, around district scale development initiatives. What is it that makes these kind of programs so attractive for city planners?
Brian Geller: District planning is becoming more popular because it’s a logical scale for resource planning. The green building industry has made huge strides in the last decade, and many of the possibilities designers see involve reaching outside of a project boundary to neighboring properties.

SE: Do you think this kind of “friendly” arms race in sustainable development between Portland, Seattle and Vancouver B.C. will drive adoption in cities outside our region? Like LA? Atlanta? Boston?
BG: I think it will, though different cities currently have different strategies for planning and organizing district-scale environmental movements. I imagine, over time, that some replicable models will emerge, bringing together the most successful elements of efforts in different cities.

SE: How does all the work during the planning stages translate into a public benefit? How do sustainable districts benefit the people of a community?
BG: District-scale planning is wonderful because working towards a few simple performance metrics improves a community in many ways. Reductions in building energy use, water use, and vehicle miles traveled sounds very abstract, but the results—healthier buildings with healthier and more active occupant, safer and more walkable communities and healthier waterways—these are characteristics urban planners have been striving to bring to the people living in cities for decades.

SE: What are the biggest challenges in working with so many moving parts, people and organizations? Is it managing relationships or managing logistics? And how have you worked through them?
BG: Managing relationships with other organizations is a challenge. Many organizations overlap each other, with similar missions. No one wants to create confusion in the marketplace, but no one wants to stifle new ideas either. It’s a delicate balance that requires regular and open communication. We also don’t have a template to work from, so we have to figure out a lot as we go.

SE: What drew you to working at the district scale? What is the “passion point” for you personally?
BG: My personal passion point is tapping into the energy and vitality that makes cities special places to live. According to the Brookings Institute, this country is about to experience its greatest demographic shift in a century, due in large part to more people living in urban areas, where quality of life has the potential to be very high if we collaborate to find solutions. This once in a multiple-lifetime opportunity is ours to seize, or squander.

SE: Tell us about the Seattle 2030 District. What are the goals and vision for this undertaking?
BG: The goals come from the 2030 Challenge for Planning. We want to reduce the energy use, water use, and CO2 from vehicle miles travelled 50 percent by 2030, with even more aggressive goals (carbon neutrality by 2030) for new buildings.

The vision is to create a model of simple goal setting and community engagement that other cities can follow, even though specific local implementations and strategies will vary from one place to the next. Our pursuit of the existing building goals is unique in that they are aggregated. We know some buildings will go farther than others, but believe that by working together, as a community, we can achieve these aggressive goals and make Seattle so much better in the process.

SE: What kind of advice can you offer city planners and administrators who are looking into district scale sustainability and development? What key aspects should they consider? What common mistakes should they steer clear of?
BG: Focus on relationships, on how people in different departments, or different entities within a city, actually work together. This is not a technical problem we have to solve, but a very human one, and  new ways of interacting and cooperating are needed in order to be successful.

Brian Geller is the Founder and Executive Director of the Seattle 2030 District, a public/private partnership working to address Seattle’s 2030 Challenge goals from a district approach. Brian will also be speaking October 26-28 at the 2011 EcoDistricts Summit in Portland, Oregon on the District Scale Initiatives panel. For more information on the 2011 EcoDistricts Summit, or to register, please visit: http://www.EcoDistrictsSummit.com. Follow news and updates on Twitter (@pdxinstitute) and Facebook.

EcoDistricts Summit 2011: Mark Holland on the Advantages of Neighborhood Scale Development

June 8, 2011

Social Enterprises: What can we do to take sustainable building practices from dots on a landscape (LEED building here, LEED building there) and create cohesive sustainable communities?
Mark Holland: The first step is to expand the focus on sustainability from a “building” to a community – which means adding several additional elements.  I have structured my approach to this around what we have been calling “The 8 Pillars of a Sustainable Community”.  Buildings are one of the pillars – but the other seven outline the scope of planning, design and development of a community:

  1. Land Use – complete community land use patterns
  2. Transportation – low impact transportation systems
  3. Buildings – green buildings
  4. Landscapes – multi-purposed landscapes (ecology, arts and culture, recreation, food production)
  5. Infrastructure – innovative green infrastructure – energy systems, water supply, wastewater management, stormwater management, solid waste systems.
  6. Food – local food systems
  7. Social issues – individual and social health (with facilities and programs to support these)
  8. Economy – local sustainable economies

The key in helping develop sustainable communities is first to consider all of these core issues of a community through a sustainability lens – and then if the focus is on buildings, then identifying how a building needs to be designed to support the full range of goals across all the community elements.

SE: Can you give us a working definition of a sustainable community?
MH: I don’t usually spend a lot of time trying to create succinct definitions of sustainability or sustainable communities – and the thousands of definitions in play today across the world show similarities and differences in how it is expressed.

I look at it as a sustainable community is a one whose prosperity, social system and physical ecosystems are being consciously addressed, designed, developed and maintained to remain healthy and prosperous for the next century.

SE: What does the public gain from planning done at the neighborhood/district scale rather than a building-by-building scale?
MH: Many efficiencies can be achieved by thinking at the district-scale.  The building is one of the most important building blocks in a community, but other efficiencies and benefits can be achieved by thinking about larger systems.  For instance, a building-scale energy system may cost everyone money, but a district energy system can be an important asset, keep energy costs to a minimum, and provide better overall performance, because it can utilize many different sources of energy and balance loads across different buildings that have different uses.  Likewise, a building-scale stormwater management system may be onerous, but one managed at a neighbourhood scale may actually save money and provide significant habitat and community amenity. The same district-scale advantages can be applied to open space, recreation facilities, food production, etc.

SE: What are major hurdles to implementing a district approach to sustainable community development? How do you propose we clear those hurdles?
MH: In a new “master-planned community” context, the district-scale approach can simply be put on the table at the beginning, the necessary utilities involved from the beginning – and it will naturally unfold.  In an infill/redevelopment context, typically the local government has to play a role, or various roles, including:

  • Ensuring there is a good neighbourhood plan that ensures an overall sustainability performance on all the issues I identified in the first question;
  • A multi-stakeholder consultation and choreography role;
  • A financial role using “late-comer” agreements for infrastructure and facilities where needed over time;
  • A utility role as either “the” district utility provider or as a partner with the utilities, often owning the district energy/water pipes that are in the roads between buildings or parcels with different owners.

SE: Why should developers and property owners be on board with the district approach to sustainability? How can it benefit them?
MH: Everyone can optimize their performance and profit when we work at a district scale – as not every building has to take on the responsibility to be self-sufficient or overly complex – and as such, everyone wins.

SE: Can you speak to the idea of making sustainability more approachable and less dogmatic? Why do we need to do it and how do you suggest it be done?
MH: I always take my development clients back to first principles of the core performance accounts which are why we are not sustainable, including:

  • Climate change / air emissions
  • Water
  • Ecosystem health and biodiversity
  • Materials – resources, toxins, waste
  • Sustainable food systems
  • Social needs and health
  • Economic stability and prosperity

I always recommend that a sustainability strategy be created for each project that directly addresses these issues and that directions selected in each of the issues I noted at the beginning (the 8 pillars) be addressed with the unique costs/benefits/opportunities each project presents.  As such, in my experience, no two sustainability strategies are alike.

This approach ensures we address the core sustainability issues in a manner that passes the “straight face test” for each developer, community, neighbourhood, regulatory context, financial reality, etc. Sometimes LEED or another rating system seems to make sense – often we don’t use them (or just reference them) as it’s better to spend money and effort addressing sustainability issues in ways that may not deliver points. It also does away with the concept of pre-requisites as we can make any project perform quite well on most sustainability accounts with a little work.

SE: Some might argue that creating EcoDistricts is gentrification veiled as sustainability. How do we ensure that sustainable districts are developed across the spectrum and remain available, affordable and accessible to all people?
MH: The arguments against gentrification are nonsense.  Gentrification is just a fancy term applied to any kind of redevelopment in an infill context that is occurring because land value is cheaper in older areas (which is also the reason why rents are cheaper and these neighbourhoods are often the home of those of low income).

The only way to stop gentrification is through government intervention and requirements to provide subsidized/non-market housing – which can be achieved in many different ways – and should be pursued in each neighbourhood in order to provide a balanced social environment. Examples of very proactive developers (such as John Knott and the Noisette Project) are increasing where developers are finding ways to support a decent percent of less-than-market prices through other means.

SE: Are there any projects that you feel particularly inspired by lately? Ones that have solved issues and are very likely replicable by other cities/communities?
MH: I like the Dockside project in Victoria.  I worked extensively on the Southeast False Creek project in Vancouver (LEED ND Platinum) and think it turned out pretty good.  I am always inspired by the Noisette Project I mentioned earlier in South Carolina.  I like the projects that are now integrating food systems centrally into their design (we wrote the book Agricultural Urbanism last year on this topic).  We have been involved in a few of these – most notably Southlands in Delta BC, that DPZ did the site plan for.  I also really like the Pearl District in your fair city.

The issue of replicability is difficult – as each factor in a development is always unique to that place and moment in time.  I think it’s more important to look for inspiration in other projects, but to build each project uniquely with the people, champions and resources that are available to that project and place.  I believe strongly in “project terriore” – the unique interesting eccentricities of a place and the people – that get imbued into a project.

SE: What do you hope comes out of the 2011 EcoDistricts Summit? What do our cities and the industry (for lack of a better word) need from it at this moment in time? 
MH: I think the most important thing is to start thinking at the district scale for all things – and to better understand what should be required of developers at a parcel/building scale – and what is really best addressed by the local government at the district scale.

We can achieve much higher sustainability performance and make money doing it if we address core sustainability issues at the district scale first – and then define the responsibility / role of each building/site within that district as we go.

SE: Why is the kind of dialogue available at the EcoDistricts Summit valuable for those developing our cities to engage in? 
MH: Most of the work done on sustainable communities is focused either on the building scale or at the city scale – and yet the district scale is probably the most important.  An event focused on this critical scale to 21st century planning and development is a great opportunity – and on the leading edge.

Robert Costanza Talks EcoDistricts + Neighborhood Scale Sustainability

October 25, 2010

Robert Costanza is the new head of Portland State’s Institute for Sustainable Solutions, founder of the Solutions Journal, and he’ll also be speaking at the EcoDistricts Summit, put on by Portland Sustainability Institute (PoSI). Robert has spent his career exploring sustainable systems and reaching for solutions that will allow us to live a high quality of life, while at the same time sustaining our planet’s resources. One of the most compelling concepts he has discovered is district-level sustainability.

SE: Since you’re new to this position and the area, can you give us a brief snapshot of where you’ve come from and what your new job at Portland State University (PSU) entails?
RC: I started out in engineering and then got a masters degree in architecture. Then I shifted and got a PhD in systems ecology with a minor in economics—I took economics as a foreign language actually. That systems training education has allowed me to look at the world in a much more integrated way. Ever since I adopted this philosophy, I’ve been trying to put pieces together rather than take things apart, or at least balance the two. I think that’s what we need more of in the education and management aspects of our system. Things are much more interconnected these days, or at least the interconnections make more difference, because the world is filled up with people and their artifacts. There’s no frontier out there anymore, so the goals have shifted significantly from capturing resources as fast as you can, to working together and trying to sustain things in a desirable way.

To do that well, we have to start working across disciplines. We have to transcend these disciplinary boundaries and also the boundaries between academia and the community. Those are some of the things I’ve been trying to do throughout my career.

SE: Is that part of the reason you created the Solutions Journal—to broaden the conversation?
RC: Yes. I also started the journal, Ecological Economics, back in 1989. We were trying to make economics into a life science and build bridges. The Solutions Journal is a further step to reach out of academia into the general public, and across a broader range of disciplines. It’s about starting a dialogue on how we solve these problems.

We’ve spent plenty of ink describing the problems and analyzing them—I think we have a pretty good idea of what our big issues are. Now we need to spend an equal amount of time and effort trying to figure out what the solutions are. That goes beyond the technical fixes and partial solutions. We also need to figure out how we redesign the system to make it really sustainable and desirable.

Sustainability is one thing—how long things last, and we certainly want the system to last—but we also want to create something good. I think we can improve our quality of life and reduce our resource consumption at the same time. In fact, in many instances we’re finding that it’s the maldistribution of resources that’s more of a problem than the actual rates of consumption. We can lower rates of consumption all together and everyone can actually be happier while consuming less.

I think we need to get past the “growth at all costs” paradigm of economics and more towards asking how we can improve quality of life and sustainability—so that’s what I’ve been trying to do with my work. Portland State University has offered me a real opportunity, because they have a deep commitment to sustainability and see themselves as a leader, as does Portland. That means the community/university partnership can  happen here much better than anywhere else I know of. It can also be a model for others to see how to do this kind of thing—and I think the world needs these kinds of models. It’s important for us to lead the way.

SE: Speaking of models and problem-solving, we’re talking because of the EcoDistricts Summit that’s coming up. This idea of district-scale sustainability that Portland is gearing up to study in five key areas around the city (Lloyd District, Portland State University, Gateway, Lents and South Waterfront), what bigger problems will this concept solve if successful?
RC: The primary issue EcoDistricts let us address is how to build a sustainable, desirable city environment. Often when people think of sustainability, they think of getting back to the land, self-sufficiency and a smaller-scale way of life. I don’t think that’s necessarily the right approach. I think cities can be even more sustainable than a dispersed rural environment. We have so many people on Earth now that if we spread them out like that, it would use up all the available land. I think we’re better off concentrating people in certain areas. The question is, how do we do that in a more sustainable way? We’re getting into lots of things with this—including transportation and energy. Where do we find new solutions for those problems?

Portland is a good distance down the road to finding solutions, with our emphasis on bikes and mass transit, energy efficiency, green buildings, but not quite there yet. I just moved into the Cyan building next to PSU and it’s great to have a green building so conveniently located for me. My commute is by elevator. I don’t even have to use a bike that often and I was able to sell my car because of mass transit and Zipcars and biking.

Showing models like the EcoDistricts as individual buildings and eventually on a city scale in Portland, is really important. The city, as a whole, is not there, but by tackling things district by district, we can make progress in manageable chunks. That’s good for us, plus we can show it as a replicable model for others to enact in the rest of the country and the world, really. And we can use things like the Summit and the Solutions Journal to communicate these successes and processes to others, so they can learn from our experience—not to mention learn from other cities as well.

SE: Is there a danger of these repeatable, neighborhood-scale sustainability projects stoking gentrification issues in areas that are currently underdeveloped? And if so, is there a way they can be used to instead create more equitable access to sustainable living with the right attention?
RC: In that ecological/economics paradigm I was speaking about earlier, we talk about four basic types of capital that are necessary for maintaining a high quality of life. There is conventional built capital—infrastructure and those types of things—there’s also human/talent capital—health, knowledge, ideas, that’s what universities are about, building human capital—then there’s also natural capital—the resources and services provided by the natural environment—and then there’s social capital which is all the interactions between people.

There’s psychological research showing that social capital is very important to people’s sense of well-being and quality of life. That’s something that living in smaller neighborhoods can contribute to positively, this sense of social capital, people working together. It provides a significant component of their quality of life, and yet we haven’t emphasized it yet. We’re focused on the built capital and monetary income. Which is funny, because the evidence shows that beyond a certain point, more income doesn’t lead to more happiness, in fact it can lead to less happiness, because you’re so stressed out trying to maintain your income and keep up with the Joneses.

And also the distribution of income is a problem, because that tends to destroy social capital—if there’s too big a gap in the money population issues start cropping up. There is some new research that shows, across many countries, that the higher the gap in income, the worse the whole range of social problems are—crime, incarceration, obesity, everything really, gets much worse if there is a large gap in incomes. I think these kind of small scale examples can show how we can build social capital and how that contributes to quality of life.

We did a research paper at the University of Vermont (where I just came from) not long ago on quality of life differences between intentional communities and regular neighborhoods. That study showed that quality of life is much higher in intentional communities. I actually lived in a co-housing community in Vermont with 17 households and very intentional construct. We were trying to build a community and share a lot of resources, and find the right balance between individual and the social whole. Humans have evolved to be social animals. We’re not happy as isolated individuals, even though the conventional economic paradigm thinks of people as completely isolated, autonomous units—which we obviously are not. So we’re getting past that. We’re trying to find a better model of what really contributes to well-being. And a lot of that is outside the markets and it doesn’t really get picked up in conventional economic analysis, but it’s exactly what we need to focus on now.

SE: Do you think that universities have a unique opportunity to exploit EcoDistricts in a positive way, being that they pretty much exist in their own little ecosystem anyway? My alma mater, for instance, used to have this farm—which is now the athletic complex—where they grew all of the food for the school.
RC: I think university campuses can definitely be models to try out some of these ideas. They also have an opportunity to be thought leaders and connect with the community. A lot of the courses that we’re going to offer are problem-based/solutions-focused courses. Instead of doing lectures, we go find a problem out in the community and get the stakeholders together with faculty and students, and try to solve the problem, with published results. You know, it’s an entirely different way to go about education. We want to help people learn how to solve problems, rather than memorize information and leave problem solving way off in the distant future. It’s a whole skill, which we unfortunately don’t teach people as much as we should—the complexity of real world problems and how you need to communicate across a whole range of ideas and perspectives, stakeholders, etc.

Robert Costanza is Director of the Institute for Sustainable Solutions at Portland State University, and a featured speaker at the EcoDistricts Summit in Portland, Oregon, October 25-27, 2010. You can learn more about his work at: http://www.pdx.edu/sustainability/robert-costanza. Get more information about the EcoDistricts Summit and Initiative in Portland at: http://www.pdxinstitute.org/. You can also follow PoSI on Twitter at: @PDXInstitute. Tune in for live tweets from the EcoDistricts Summit, October 25-27.

NEWS: US Congressman Earl Blumenauer To Speak At EcoDistricts Summit

October 7, 2010

We’ve received word that US Congressman Earl Blumenauer will give opening remarks on Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at the EcoDistricts Summit. We’re very honored and excited to have him on board! Congressman Blumenauer is the perfect candidate to give opening remarks—being a career advocate for sustainability and instrumental in cultivating Portland’s development as a respected international player in the green building and sustainable planning sectors.

Portland Sustainability Institute‘s second annual EcoDistricts Summit, which takes place October 25-27 in Portland, Oregon, will bring together policy makers, educators and design, planning and development professionals for dialogue around the ground-breaking concept of integrated district-scale sustainability projects. Topics covered through a district-scale lens include: district utilities, green buildings, smart grid, transportation, urban habitat, water management, waste management and community development.

If you would like to learn more about the EcoDistricts Summit and/or register to attend, please visit: http://www.ecodistrictssummit.com

You can also join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter!