From Atlanta to Amsterdam: 8 Neighborhoods that Are Getting it Right

Denver isn’t the only city getting love at the 2016 EcoDistricts Summit. Across our Summit sessions, we’re featuring narratives and case studies from neighborhoods across the globe. Below are our top 8 picks for the can’t-miss deep-dive global conversations of district-scale successes, barriers, and opportunities you can experience at the 2016 Summit.


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September 13-15, 2016 • Denver CO

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phoenix-arizona

Reinvent PHX, Phoenix, AZ

HIGHLIGHTED IN: STUDIO SESSION, BEYOND TIF, A FINANCE MODEL FOR THE PHOENIX GATEWAY AND BEYOND

Phoenix is a city in transition, particularly from its reputation as a desert land of sprawling suburbs and endless highways. As more and more young people move into the southwestern city, walkable streets, affordable living and dense social spaces are in demand. Reinvent PHX is a collaboration between multiple public, private and civic organizations aimed at developing prosperous, healthy and livable Phoenix neighborhoods connected through light rail. The best part – the initiative is based on several community-designed visions for individual neighborhoods, with attention on preserving the desert culture while meeting the future needs of residents. 


denver-sun-valley

Sun Valley, Denver, CO

HIGHLIGHTED IN: STUDIO SESSION, DENVER SUN VALLEY CASE STUDY

We’ve been singing the praises of the Sun Valley neighborhood in Denver for a while now (after all, they are one of our Target Cities), but the transformative potential of this place-based, affordable housing neighborhood cannot be understated. Home to the most vulnerable residents of the city (with an median household income of $9,874), the plan for Sun Valley includes bridging residents and businesses to downtown Denver via a new light rail station, natural greenspace along the Platte River, mixed-income housing with diverse architectural design, and recruitment of local businesses into the neighborhood.


san-francisco-chinatown

Pier 70/ SoMa/ Chinatown, San Francisco, CA

HIGHLIGHTED IN: STUDIO SESSION, ECODISTRICTS LIVE AND LEARN, TRY AND TELL

The City by the Bay is well known for many things — fickle weather, crazy home prices, quirky culture and tech empires. It’s also one of the leaders in sustainable urban development, from bike-friendly planning, to extensive public transit, to city-wide adoption of the EcoDistricts framework. San Francisco has implemented sustainable development planning into multiple neighborhoods, including iconic Chinatown, the South of Market (SoMa) corridor, and the up and coming Pier 70 development in an old industrial section of the city.


atlanta-beltline

Atlanta Beltline, Atlanta, GA

HIGHLIGHTED IN: OPENING KEYNOTE, WHERE WE WANT TO LIVE

Visit Atlanta, GA and you’re sure to cross paths with the Atlanta Beltline, an expansive multi-use corridor that connects Atlanta neighborhoods around the core of the city. The brainchild of urban designer Ryan Gravel, the project – one of the most comprehensive urban development programs underway in the nation – is using 22 miles of light rail, 1300 acres of greenspace, 33 miles of shared-use trails, over 5,00 units of affordable housing and dozens of public art projects to transform and connect 45 close-in Atlanta neighborhoods.


millvale-pa

Millvale Ecodistrict, Millvale, PA

HIGHLIGHTED IN: STUDIO SESSION, BOTTOM-UP ENGAGEMENT FOR COMMUNITY ACTIVATION

The small community of Millvale, just outside of Pittsburgh, PA, already gets a gold star for their efforts to implement an ecodistrict. The former industrial community is being rejuvenated through resident-led efforts to embrace a livable, sustainable community around three key priorities – food, water and energy. Their Pivot 1.0 and Pivot 2.0 community plans have already led to the implementation of numerous projects, from solar panel installations on the community library, to a new food hub building and business-funded rain garden.


toronto-ice-skating

Toronto, Canada

HIGHLIGHTED IN: STUDIO SESSION, RESILIENCE PLANNING AT THE DISTRICT SCALE

Our friends up north are taking the risks of climate change and resilience seriously, putting it at the top of the line for key initiative Canadian cities like Toronto are adopting. The city has allocated $1 billion over the next five years for projects that will mitigate the effects of climate change, and has already developed a Climate Change Action Plan and a Climate Adaptation Strategy. Some of the many actions include planting more trees to increase shade and to clean and cool the air and changing the slope of lots to direct rain runoff away from property.


rosengard-malmo-sweden

Rosengard, Malmo, Sweden

HIGHLIGHTED IN: STUDIO SESSION, TALES FROM ACROSS THE POND — SUSTAINABLE URBAN REGENERATION IN EUROPE

The Rosengard neighborhood in Malmö, Sweden successfully moved from a period of riots, due to a disenfranchised immigrant population by actively engaging and empowering young Muslim women in participatory place making. Thirteen teenagers from Iraq and Afghanistan organized and led design workshops, redesigning the town center, creating a social space and climate action gardens working with Rosengard residents and the City of Malmö Environmental and Parks Departments.


amsterdam-netherlands

Buiksloterham, Amsterdam, Netherlands

HIGHLIGHTED IN: STUDIO SESSION, TALES FROM ACROSS THE POND — SUSTAINABLE URBAN REGENERATION IN EUROPE

The pilot brownfield transformation of the Buiksloterham district of Amsterdam-Noord was intentionally organic, based on simple urban plans in which individuals and groups could build their own housing. The prototype district has been a smashing success, paying a clear “resilience dividend” for the area with increased diversity, economic resiliency and environmental performance.

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