@ecodistricts protocol takes care of the backend. Frees cities to unleash creativity for a thriving future. #urbanresilience

Cities currently account for 80% of greenhouse gas emissions and 75% of energy consumption. Emission levels will continue to rise if changes aren’t made. Cities also contribute to a vast equity gap: the zip code a child is born into has a bigger role in determining that child’s life expectancy and future prospects than any other single factor. Not talent, not hard work, not parental involvement. Zip code. Cities face a $1 trillion infrastructure backlog comprising everything from ruptured water mains and broken sewer lines to decaying public buildings, bridges, roads, and transit. And as Hurricane Sandy brought into stark relief, cities are also extremely vulnerable to an increasingly volatile climate. In the aftermath of major weather events, many cities struggle to meet basic human needs such as food access and clean water.
Cities can’t simply stay the course. The question is not: “will cities change?” Change in the form of an unstable climate, shifting demographics and economic uncertainty has already arrived. The question is: “how will cities respond?” Cities represent a huge opportunity. They can be a driver of the ecological, social justice, and economic changes we so desperately need. Unfortunately, while many local governments are taking action they lack a systematic framework for cultivating the communities that are truly sustainable, just and resilient. The neighborhood or district provides an important scale to spur innovation and test and replicate strategies. By working at this scale, the challenge becomes more manageable, and technologies and practices can be advanced to impact citywide policymaking and investments. EcoDistricts is creating a powerful collaboration platform to support the burgeoning marketplace of district-scale sustainability ideas and actions. We focus on urban regeneration solutions that integrate smart and sustainable infrastructure, high performance green buildings and robust community engagement and action. This platform, called the EcoDistricts Protocol provides the structure and direction needed to help district-scale projects achieve their full potential and creates a network to help practitioners tap into emerging best practices, while leaving communities with the flexibility they need to determine how their resources can best be organized to meet their self-identified needs. The Protocol is built around two Imperatives, Equity and Resilience, and a set of Priority Areas: Health + Well-being, Livability + Place, Mobility + Connectivity, Ecosystem Health, Resource Efficiency, and Economic Prosperity. To support the Protocol, EcoDistricts plans to develop an online process and performance management enterprise solution to support cities as they implement projects that drive real change. The platform will help standardize data collection; gather and analyze data; leverage smart technologies; benchmark performance; and measure and report progress over time through a dashboard. The enterprise solution will lower the cost to entry for cities by institutionalizing their processes. We will test the enterprise solution through our Target Cities pilot program, a two-year immersion program launched in 2014 at the Clinton Global Initiative. The ten Target Cities projects in eight cities represent a powerful new approach for building the public-private-civic partnerships that drive neighborhood regeneration. Combined, the Target Cities projects represent almost 1,500 acres of redevelopment with an investment pipeline of billions of dollars, including significant investments in five low-income and historically underserved communities, as well as downtown areas, business districts, historical precincts, brownfield sites, and university campuses. The cities are Austin; Atlanta; Boston; Cambridge; Denver; Los Angeles; Washington, DC; and Ottawa, Ontario. We seek to partner with one or more technology companies to develop the enterprise solution to meet this burgeoning marketplace.

Team Information: EcoDistricts, EcoDistricts is mission-focused, nimble and open to new ideas. Culturally, we’re inspired by the disruptors –environmental justice advocates, civil rights leaders, green building innovators, and sharing economy entrepreneurs. We fully embrace diversity and inclusion as the key building blocks of tomorrow’s cities. Our staff and board collectively represent hundreds of years of experience in social justice, green building, urban planning, real estate development, and innovation. They’ve found their way to EcoDistricts to become personally involved in accelerating the green neighborhood movement. And our Founding Members have invested more than $800,000 to help build the ecodistrict marketplace, including Google, NRDC, USGBC, City of Boulder, City of Portland, District of Columbia, Lend Lease, Enterprise Community Partners, US Bancorp Community Development Corporation, and 12 other associations, corporations, and NGOs.

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