I am thrilled to share important news regarding the future of EcoDistricts. We are joining Partnership for Southern Equity (PSE), an Atlanta-based NGO that has been at the forefront of the Just Growth and racial equity movement for the past decade. The acquisition was completed on December 1.
I founded EcoDistricts in 2013 with a belief that our cities needed to embrace a more comprehensive equity and sustainability agenda, from the neighborhood up. With the help of over 100 practitioners from around the world, we created the EcoDistricts Protocol, a groundbreaking framework to shape new models of urban and community development. Over the last eight years, EcoDistricts has
built a passionate community of practitioners and advocates, including over 820 EcoDistricts Accredited Professionals (AP) and 20 communities pursuing EcoDistricts Certification in the US and abroad. In total, we have convened and trained over 5,000 people representing over 1,000 organizations and advised 106 project teams from 334 cities and 16 countries. I am grateful to my staff – past and present, Board of Directors, partners, and collaborators who have brought tremendous creativity and an unshakable sense of service to the work.
The PSE acquisition came after a long period of reflection that the organization had to evolve to better respond to the complex challenges facing our communities and industry. The unprecedented and sobering events of the past two years deepened my resolve to move more intentionally in partnering with a BIPOC–led organization to steward the next chapter of EcoDistricts. To help guide our thinking, I called on my friend Nathaniel Smith, PSE’s dynamic founder and Chief Equity Officer. What began as an exploratory conversation, quickly turned into an opportunity to reimagine EcoDistricts inside one of the country’s most dynamic NGOs dedicated to advancing racial equity in the areas of urban and economic development, energy, and health.
PSE is a leader in promoting racial equity and “Just Growth” in urban and community development in the American South. PSE has developed a range of innovative programs to build community power to drive systematic change in urban planning, real estate development, and anti-displacement public policies. Most recently PSE developed the City of East Point’s Equitable Development Plan, the first of its kind in the state of Georgia. Nathaniel and I saw an important opportunity to come together and build a more powerful model of just growth together, at a time that is desperately calling for more collaboration, inclusivity, and authentic models of restorative urban and community development.
The acquisition will allow us to expand our capacity and strengthen our core programming – with a clear focus on centering sustainable urban growth through racial equity. and growing and diversifying the ecosystem of stakeholders including community members, industry practitioners, and public policymakers. Over the coming year, PSE, EcoDistricts, and a committee of national experts will work together through an inclusive design and planning process to combine programming, local power building, and fee-for-service consulting opportunities to support a growing number of communities that are looking to integrate equity and sustainability into neighborhood and district-scale redevelopment.
I’m extremely honored to be joining PSE and look forward to sharing more about the acquisition in the coming months and hope you will join us Jan 26 at 1 PM EST for a conversation between Nathaniel and myself on the acquisition and our vision moving forward. Thank you for being an important part of the EcoDistricts community and encourage you to get involved in the next chapter of our work.