A few weeks ago, I attended a training session on EcoDistricts, offered by the Portland Sustainability Institute (POSI). The trainers came to present their framework, and then we broke out into separate groups to discuss the existing four local EcoDistricts and prioritize actions to bring them further towards their goals in the immediate future. It was really exciting to learn about all of the projects we already have going on – the Downtown DC BID, the SW Waterfront, Walter Reed, and UDC are all active participants in the EcoDistricts program. A great thing that came of the training was the chance to connect all of these very unique projects and think about how we could strengthen their effectiveness as examples for the city.
The EcoDistricts methodology asks planners to:
A) Articulate a vision and accompanying high level goals
B) Conduct a baseline analysis to understand their current position with respect to those goals
C) “Backcast” from the vision to brainstorm actions that will bring them closer to success
D) Prioritize those actions to come up with a plan
E) Track progress toward their goals over time
Learn more about DC’s four EcoDistricts by watching presentations from Shades of Green, an event that was held at the National Capitol Planning Commission:
If one of these projects happens to be near you, please think about how you might get involved to make it more effective. For example, UDC is currently an EcoDistrict in and of itself. Its campus forms the current system boundary. However, there are residential community groups in Ward 3 working towards similar goals, and they could be an integral part of the UDC EcoDistrict system and mission. In addition, there are many businesses and commercial buildings along the Connecticut Avenue corridor adjacent to UDC that may benefit from inclusion in a neighborhood vision and identity of this positive nature. Having these different communities working together will surely make the project more impactful, and as more people become involved in and aware of these projects, we can share lessons learned more effectively across the city.