The Race is Really the Prize: Ecodistrict Planning and Design
How to create sustainable neighborhoods
Ecodistricts cultivate fertile ground for bold visions of sustainable development to take root and flourish. Ecodistricts focus on the design of neighborhood places and infrastructure, the processes and resources that flow through a community, and the people whose efforts are needed to cocreate a shared vision. This session will discuss how an ecodistrict design and planning process can help an existing community with limited resources create a vision of a sustainable neighborhood.
Ecodistrict planning builds on people’s desire to shape community places that are both inspiring and high performing and ecodistrict planning aligns urban design with resource flows and processes. The planning identifies strategies to develop and implement closed-loop systems for energy, water, nutrients, and waste, and also accounts for less commonly analyzed flows of social and human capital. Ecodistrict planning also builds community capacity to be more fully involved in the co-creation of their neighborhood, with a focus on community engagement, education, and the expansion of resident and business participation. This session will present the characteristics of ecodistrict planning and how it augments other planning efforts.
The session will share the stories of communities who have completed numerous iterations of ecodistrict planning and will discuss how the planning principles have been used directly and indirectly in projects and policies at the neighborhood, city, and regional scales. The session will also review the EcoDistrict Protocol, a national framework of best practices that communities can draw upon to shape their neighborhoods.
- Participants will be able to describe the characteristics of an ecodistrict planning processes and how it relates to emerging urban design and planning processes.
- Participants will be able to relate how community capacity influences plan outcomes and how it can be cultivated through an ecodistrict planning process.
- Participants will recognize how frameworks such as the EcoDistrict Protocol are shaping the development of ecodistricts nationally and internationally.
- Participants will be introduced to the expanded opportunities for designers to assist communities as they shape their places, processes, and cultural systems.
Christine is an eternal optimist regarding the power of design in shaping a sustainable environment. Christine has been active in shaping places, processes, and organizations nationally and internationally for over fifteen years through her work as an architect, educator, and activist. Her diverse experience enables her to note trends and bring benefits across project types, from the design of buildings and landscapes to educational efforts to sustainability planning. As strategic Principal of evolveEA and a registered architect, Christine brings creative solutions to projects as varied as the award-winning Millvale Ecodistrict Pivot Plan to developing the business case for sustainability at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh. She is experienced at helping communities, schools and other agencies build capacity as they navigate sustainability through strategic planning and project implementation.
Christine has taught architecture, landscape design and sustainability concepts at Carnegie Mellon University, Slippery Rock University, and other schools. She supports organizations that promote design and the environment and currently serves as Chair of the Pittsburgh Planning Commission, and is a former President for the Green Building Alliance Board of Directors. She is a LEED Accredited Professional, and a 2019 AIA Fellow.
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