Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Civic Ecology & EcoDistricts: The Future?

Below are some links to a new concept for urban development here in Portland: EcoDistricts. I'm posting about this here for the first time and will post more in the future as I learn more about it.

EcoDISTRICTS Framework Concept for Metro Portland defines EcoDistricts thusly:

"EcoDISTRICTS are 'triple bottom line' neighborhoods with the lowest possible environmental impact and highest long‐term economic and community returns. EcoDISTRICTS focuses on four core areas 1) carbon neutral buildings, 2) zero carbon transportation and 3) green infrastructure and 4) compact, complete neighborhoods (also known as '20 minute neighborhoods'). It starts with the fundamental tenant that 'what can be measured can be managed' thus introducing social, environmental and economic performance metrics to neighborhood development. The objective – to test and eventually codify the next generation of best practices and commercialization opportunities in green development and infrastructure that can be scaled to create neighborhoods with the lowest environmental impact and highest economic and social resiliency in the United States.

"The EcoDISTRICTS initiative focuses on developing strategies and tools within three core areas; Best Practices Development and Policies, Governance & Financing, and Civic Ecology (social networks and behavior change)."

The Portland State University Civic Engagement Workshop (Nov. 19, 2009) created a presentation titled "Civic Ecology: Living Community Systems for Sustainability. This document defines civic ecology as a "learning ecology" because "it adapts in response to culture, values and consciousness." The five principles of civic ecology are: 1) systems approach; 2) focus on place; 3) requires a new social contract; 4) matches needs and capacities; 5) is dynamic.


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