By: Adam Beck, Director of Innovation, EcoDistricts
On Nov. 2-4, a group of urban leaders representing eight neighborhood development projects from across North America came together with the same aspiration – to advance precinct and neighborhood-scale development in a way that is more collaborative, transparent, integrated and implementable. Our home for the convening was Kendall Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the heart of the city’s innovation.
I had the pleasure of facilitating a group of about 40 policy makers, practitioners, developers, intermediaries and community advocates, taking them through an intensive set of sessions that spanned topics as diverse as collaborative governance, branding and tactical urbanism.
We set out firstly to build the fundamental conditions for success – strong leadership, effective collaborative arrangements, and solid governance structures – without which most definitely result in significant challenges down the track for a project. We have been working on these issues for more than a year, but are making progress.
We then transitioned into deeper dives around three core areas – district energy, tactical urbanism, and green infrastructure. This session advanced the action planning each project has been doing, with a view to building out their EcoDistricts Roadmap. This was then followed by additional sessions around community-driven data collection (Little Data) and crowd resourcing.
The convening ended with a walking tour around the Kendall Square Ecodistrict, with stops to inspect green building practices, the district stream system, complete street designs and public realm enhancements.
As we maintain a hunger for advancing strategies and investments throughout these neighborhoods, we continue to ask ourselves the single most important question – “what governance arrangements best position the neighborhood for implementation.”
Learn more about the EcoDistricts Target Cities program now.