Tim Smith talks Civic Ecology at TEDx

Tim Smith, Principal and Director of Urban Design + Planning at SERA, was honored to speak at the recent TEDx event held at Portland’s Concordia University. Click below to view his presentation.

In the ever-important (yet increasingly cluttered!) conversation about “sustainability,” what are the key innovations that are showing us the way forward? Are more efficient buildings and smarter technology devices the answer? While this “hardware” will certainly play a role, Tim encourages us to think more comprehensively – to include a crucial “community software” element in the equation. Follow this link to learn more about Tim’s work developing Civic Ecology. You can also learn more about Civic Ecology’s relationship to EcoDistricts in the Bullitt Foundation-funded Making EcoDistricts publication [.pdf].

Become part of the dialogue: What do you think? What ideas do you have as to how we deal with the “loss of meaning” notion that Tim describes? Have you experienced other examples of community-scale solutions?


  1. Bruce Hostetter says |

    The key in this framework seems to me to be the clarification of common aims connecting hearts in the community and overcoming differences in the process–beautiful. The structured focus on flows and the telling of story in a learning community are the important pieces that differentiate this framework from the limitations of the Living Building Challenge. More power to Tim Smith and his team at SERA, Civic Ecology should go viral, thank you for your pioneering efforts and I hope to find myself drawn into this process (Vashon Island) sooner, rather than later.

    • Thanks for your comments Bruce. I think you’ve nailed a big part of it. I would like to add that Civic Ecology is a framework intended to energize citizenship by giving citizens and civil society the tools to imagine, implement and manage a shared vision for enduring prosperity…in other words, to enable communities to “own” their sustainability. We work with communities to identify what members of the community share, agree on, and what needs to be done to enhance resilience in the face of great uncertainty. It seems to be working. We would love to help the citizens of Vashon Island weave their flows…

  2. Hey Tim, this is a very nice talk, and I very much appreciate how you’ve delivered this one. You’re a pleasure to listen to, making what is still not obvious to most people more easy to understand and appreciate. Thanks for standing up and reflecting back to us how we are.

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