Atlanta’s AUC Vince City Ecodistrict has the densest location of Historically Black Colleges and Universities in one area. The 229-acre Atlanta University Center area is home to Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, the Morehouse School of Medicine, Spelman College, Morris Brown College and the Interdenominational Theological Center. The district is home to 21,146 residents, 11,320 of which are currently enrolled local colleges and universities. Proctor Creek is located in an urban dense neighborhood in Atlanta’s downtown core with 43% of the residents living in poverty and earning a median annual household income of $24,374. With the Atlanta Falcons professional football team actively drafting plans to update their stadium, located just across the street from the predominantly low-income African American Vine City neighborhood, this is an opportune moment to leverage the incoming private capital by having elected officials and community stakeholders come together to envision this area as a future Ecodistrict.
The AUC Proctor Creek Ecodistrict will necessitate a public-private partnership to equitably close the social, economic and physical gaps that separate Vine City from AUC in order to make it one cohesive Ecodistrict. Addressing connectivity issues in transit is a priority project that the EcoDistrict hopes to address through the establishment of a Multimodal Passenger Terminal facility. Also, updating the physical hindrance of the Georgia World Congress Center will help to reconnect the vulnerable Vine City community to vital jobs, housing, education and health improvements and needed environmental improvements located in the downtown core. The project area includes 9.3 acres of green space, which also represents the cleanup and maintenance of the Proctor Creek watershed, a directive from the federal Urban Waters Federal Partnership program, is a major environmental sustainability priority for the project and will require the help and coordination of local agencies to get it done.
The Seaholm District is an 85 acre redevelopment area on the southwestern edge of downtown Austin along Lady Bird Lake. The former industrial area covers 22 city blocks with over nine blocks of City of Austin owned land, most of which formerly served utility functions and has been remediated. There are currently eight city blocks under redevelopment. This district redevelopment has been led by the City of Austin and started with a Master Plan in 1996. At the site’s heart is the iconic Art Deco-style Seaholm Power Plant building, a decommissioned steam powerplant that is undergoing adaptive reuse to include major office and restaurant space. On another block, a new 200,000-square foot central library building is being designedto acheive LEED® Platinum. On the former Green Water Treatment Plant blocks, planned development includes a boutique hotel and 1,475 units of multi-family housing, office and retail.
Other recent development projects include multiple medium and high rise condominium and apartment projects. All new and recent development in the area complies with LEED® or Austin Energy Green Building criteria. Planned infrastructure improvements include a new Bicycle Bridge, completion of missing components of the street grid using the City’s “Great Street” design standards, extension of a promenade along Cesar Chavez Ave, and a new large Chiller as part of the expansion of the Downtown District Cooling System. A new multi-modal transportation network includes a planned Metro Rail stop, bus transit, bike sharing, car sharing, hike-andbike trail connections and a five-mile cross-city route connecting with the Lance Armstrong Bikeway. The Shoal Creek urban waterway runs northsouth through the city and the district, culminating at Lady Bird Lake. Stream bank restoration, habitat creation, native plantings and natural drainage are included.
The 42-acre Talbot Norfolk Triangle (TNT) neighborhood within Codman Square has been traditionally regarded as a low-income community in need of investment and sustainable development. However, in 2009, the Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation (CSNDC) started the detailed, extensive and area-wide, Millennium 10 planning process, with over 1000 residents in CSNDC’s service area–from TNT and beyond—participating. During the planning process, TNT residents put forth bold environmental, economic and social equity goals as desired outcomes for the community. They specifically mentioned Eco-Innovation as key to having a healthy community. While also creating a Greenspace Master Plan, Talbot Norfolk Neighbors United (TNTNU) residents began transforming blighted and vacant lots into public park space and urban gardens.
Additionally, the recently opened Talbot Avenue Station along the Fairmount Corridor Line, provided a strong basis for increased density through transit oriented development (TOD). Area residents taking advantage of the commuter rail line now reach downtown Boston in 20 minutes or less, a trip that takes 1.25-1.5 hours via bus. Over 35% of the 1400 residents living in the area work in the downtown area. Related benefits include fewer vehicle miles travelled–lessening pollution and reducing climate change impacts–and increased walkability and greenspace–improving resident health. CSNDC and TNTNU have worked closely together to come to agreement on the design of forthcoming development along NE Ave, the main, mostly-undeveloped EID corridor adjacent to Talbot Ave Station that will provide rental, homeownership and commercial opportunities. The TNT housing market currently has 11% affordable housing, with the remainder being market rate housing. Additional energy efficient TOD projects are already in various stages of design and implementation to capitalize upon the opportunity offered by Talbot Avenue Station.
Kendall Square is a high-density commercial, innovation and transportation hub located in eastern Cambridge on the Charles River. With a population of 6,520, Kendall Square boasts 2 elementary schools – Fletcher Maynard Academy and Community Charter School of Cambridge. A core team of Kendall Square stakeholders that represent local government, the local business association, institutional partners, and large property owners has developed and secured funding for a two year proof of concept Ecodistrict project.
With a median income of $87,379, Kendall Square is one of the largest and fastest growing markets for the tech and biomed industries. These companies, as well as the neighborhood’s countless startups, increasingly attract employees who wish to live close to work, creating demand for a true mixed-use district. Build out projections for 2020 indicate that an additional 3 million square feet of retail, office, and residential space will be added to the existing 7 million square feet of development. Residential and retail space is expected to increase by 66% and 170% respectively. The area also includes 11 different parks that total to 11.2 acres of green, open parks and public space.
The Sun Valley Neighborhood is 415.36 acres of Denver’s most economically depressed area. With a population of 1500 people and a median household income of $9,874, nearly 70% of them live in poverty with the majority of the residents living in the Sun Valley Homes housing project. 94% of the housing market is subsidized with only 5% of the homes occupied by the owners. Sun Valley is host to Denver’s largest concentration of recent immigrants and refugees and is often referred to as Denver’s united nations. The district is largely an industrial area including both electrical and steam power plants, the Platte River, the home of the Denver Bronco’s Football team and stadium and large swaths of parking surface all around.
This is an area primed and ready for smart and intentional development. Having already secured a joint grant from HUD and DOT, the City and the Denver Housing Authority (DHA) have completed a comprehensive Station Area Plan and General Development Plan. These plans only started the conversation and have made the time just right to begin a planning effort that is focused on direct implementation. The work over the last several years has been recognized with an additional Choice Neighborhoods Initiative planning grant from HUD that will allow the DHA and the City to bring partners, such as the EcoDistrics, to the table and begin the next step that will lead to the realization of a revitalization this neighborhood has needed and help to repair the disinvestment pattern of the last many decades.
Self-titled as a Cultural-Ecodistrict, the 19.5 acre Little Tokyo Ecodistrict, located in the Downtown Los Angeles District, is designed to capture and highlight its 130-year old Japanese-American history. With 40% of the population living below poverty and a median income of $26,774, a new light rail station in Little Tokyo will help to meet the community’s public transit needs. The station will be surrounded by public land and nestled within both Little Tokyo and the Downtown Arts District.
Little Tokyo is perfectly positioned to flourish into a thriving transit-oriented cultural epicenter with the completion of this project. A proposed catalyst project is located near union station and Metro is in the midst of compiling concepts for the Regional Connector to improve access to public transportation. Achieving environmental performance is a project priority that includes TOD, green building retrofits, parks & open space and building out renewable energy and water management that will help Little Tokyo in reaching its goal of creating a 35% savings in energy and water usage.
The Little Tokyo Service Center has taken the lead in convening a diverse set of stakeholders to move forward a planning process grounded in the vision and interests of the local community. An extensive community planning and visioning process informed the publication of A Sustainable Little Tokyo, which continues to inform the planning process as it moves forward.
Zibi, formerly known as the Isles, represents 37-acres of industrial land located between the cities of Ottawa and Gatineau in Ontario. The unique location of this project, and its ability to span both political and cultural boundaries make this riverfront property undeniably special. This brownfield site was purchased with the vision of making it a world class EcoDistrict to stimulate innovation and creativity. As a mixed-used development estimated to create 500 new permanent jobs and maintain a 90% walkability score, this project is designed for hyper-local living, in which any resident can easily walk to their place of work, home of residence or enjoy leisurely activities at the nearby restaurants or green-open space. 12% of the Master Planned area is dedicated to public space and turning this industrial space into a vibrant and sustainable green development will require stages of soil remediation designed to coincide with the various phases of development.
The Windmill Development Group has set ambitious sustainability targets for the projects. The Group is seeking to reduce construction waste by 20%. All buildings are designed to be net zero by 2020, including a net zero district utility system for the distribution of energy, heating and cooling needs.
In April 2011 the Downtown Business Improvement District (BID) officially announced its plans to redevelop the Downtown BID area into an Ecodistrict. Comprised of 90 million square feet of built environment, 60 million square feet of which is used as office space, this 138-block area has set ambitious energy efficiency and green infrastructure goals to help develop Downtown Washington, D.C. into one of the most sustainable urban epicenters in the world. The BID has set targets to reduce the district’s energy consumption by 20% by 2020. Downtown BID has identified transit, LEED certifications and registrations, green power purchasing, and Energy Star programs as some of the priority projects that it would like to see incorporated into the Downtown BID Ecodistrict. Home to mostly commercial properties, the Ecodistrict also includes 6,000 housing units that help to improve walkability and reduce commuter traffic and pollution.
Created in 1997 by way of legislation, the Downtown Business Improvement District is focused on investing in capital improvements and providing services, resources and research to enhance the experience and improve the quality of life of workers, residence, visitors and the like as they explore the downtown Washington, D.C. neighborhood. Business owners approved a self-imposed tax that generates $11 million annually to make-up the BID’s annual operating budget. The Downtown BID has identified three goals for the Ecodistrict project:
The SW Ecodistrict Initiative is a comprehensive and forward-looking approach to urban sustainability and livability in the heart of Washington, DC. The vision proposes transforming the 110 acres of a 15-block, predominantly federal precinct located just south of the National Mall into a highly sustainable, walkable neighborhood and workplace that will: connect the National Mall with Washington’s southwest waterfront; be a national showcase of sustainable urban development; and provide sites for major new museums, memorials, and events; accommodate the federal government’s future space needs; and include housing, commercial services and usable open space. The development project is expected to increase the population of the neighborhood by 33% by 2030. In anticipation of the influx of residents the Ecodistrict will build out 14.3 acres of new or improved parks and public green space.
In 2013 the National Capital Planning Commission, in coordination with 17 local and federal agencies, completed the SW Ecodistrict Plan. The Plan demonstrates how planning, implementing, and operating at a neighborhood (or district) scale results in more environmental and economic benefits than a traditional building-scale approach. The Plan proposes a development scenario where projects can be prioritized and implemented over a 20-year period as they become economically viable and align with federal and local investment priorities.
Congress Heights is a primarily low to middle income residential neighborhood, located just south of the historic St. Elizabeth’s Hospital Campus. These two districts come together to form the St. Elizabeths Ecodistrict, set to attract over $58 million in infrastructure investments.
Congress Heights is an active community comprised of many educational and faith institutions. Frank W. Ballou High School, Hart Middle School, the SE Tennis and Learning Center serve the community. Additionally, Congress Height is located near Oxon Run Park, and in close proximity to the historic St. Elizabeths campus. According to the 2006 Comprehensive Plan, the neighborhood’s present population is 96.1% African American, compared to 92.8% for Ward 8 and 60% for the city as a whole.
A historic gem in the middle of the nation’s capital, the St. Elizabeths campus is located adjacent to the Congress Heights community. The 350-acre campus was previously occupied entirely by the St. Elizabeths Hospital. The District government is actively working to redevelop St. Elizabeths East into a vibrant mixed-use campus. Plans for the redevelopment of St. Elizabeths East feature an “Innovation Hub”, highlighting the co-location of community, universities, technology businesses and technology-focused amenities focused on cultivating globally significant economic opportunities. In addition, St. Elizabeths East will soon be home to the R.I.S.E. Demonstration Center. R.I.S.E., a name selected by the community, stands for Relate, Innovate, Stimulate and Elevate (Rel8, Innov8, Stimul8 and Elev8). The Demonstration Center will include flex meeting, tech and demonstration space designed to build community interest in the campus redevelopment efforts and solidify St. Elizabeths East as an innovation hub. The East campus is adjacent to the Congress Heights Metrorail station and is easily linked to the entire metro region.