Recapping the 2011 EcoDistricts Summit

by | November 10, 2011 3 Ideas
Credit: Riggs Skepnek, ZGF, & PoSI

Credit: Riggs Skepnek, ZGF, & PoSI

The 2011 EcoDistricts Summit was a solid success with many new ideas shared and relationships formed.

In addition to SERA’s involvement in four of the panel presentations [see below], a number of SERA staff members attended the summit to take in the latest in EcoDistrict thinking. SERA Project Designer Riggs Skepnek produced many of the visualizations & renderings that were used throughout the summit’s promotion materials as part of her efforts at her previous firm. As a first-time attendee this year, Riggs came away with these reflections:

“In the beginning and end it’s about people. Creating environments that provide better places for people and nature.

The creation of an EcoDistrict requires collaboration. The opportunity to meet with artists, scholars, designers, passionate citizens and politicians to discuss the hopes and challenges of projects in the built environment and programs around people and behavior is invaluable to the future success of EcoDistricts. For me it was the gentle reminder that people and their behavior are the greatest strengths and weaknesses in our pursuit of successful EcoDistricts projects and programs.”

Ray Chirgwin, Project Assistant in SERA’s Sustainability Resources Group, describes his experience…

“After attending the EcoDistricts Summit, I came away with some refreshing ideas on behavior change and how sustainable lifestyles can become an epidemic. Whether it is from the top down or the bottom up, a well-intentioned ‘agent of change’ can transform their circle of influence by making the process easy, inspirational, and worthwhile. One creative idea was the ‘eco-concierge’ or somebody who supports community members to organize their lifestyle to feel healthier and happier. Imagine if every leasing office had somebody to help you signup for a local produce box, enroll you in a carshare program, or teach you how to program your thermostat. One person can be a very effective agent of change.”

Summit Panel Presentation Downloads

Enjoy these slide-deck downloads from the four panel presentations in which SERA was involved:

Assessing the Gateway EcoDistrict

Justin Douglas, Portland Development Commission (Moderator); Matthew Arnold, SERA Architects; Nicole Isle, Brightworks; Tom Puttman, Puttman Infrastructure

Optimizing Systems at District Scale

Clark Brockman, SERA Architects (Moderator); Bry Sarte, Sherwood Design Engineers; Brian Renehan, Arup; Cole Roberts, Arup

(PDF, 19 MB) (PDF, 6.2 MB)
High Performance Buildings – The Oregon Sustainability Center

Jon Schleuning, SRG Partnership (Moderator); Cyreena Boston Ashby, Oregon Governor’s Office of Economic and Business Equity and June Key Delta Community Center; Denis Hayes, Bullitt Foundation; Lisa Petterson, SERA Architects; Kyle Anderson, GBD Architects

Building Modernization

Peter Wilcox, Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (Moderator); Brian Geller, Seattle 2030 District; Faith Graham, Clean Energy Works Oregon; Tom Shircliff, Intelligent Buildings; Jennifer Taylor, AIA, NCARB, SERA Architects

(PDF, 5.6 MB) (PDF, 9 MB)

Summit Workshop Presentation Downloads

SERA’s Director of Urban Planning + Design, Tim Smith, also led a Civic Ecology workshop which gave participants an in-depth look at how community flow-mapping can foster a holistic approach to sustainability. With a more intimate group size in comparison to past municipal-scale Civic Ecology workshops, Tim commented that each of the attendees were able to really dig into the mock scenarios and create some fascinating resource flow maps.

Civic Ecology Workshop Presentation
(PDF, 8.8 MB)
Collaboration over the study area

Collaboration over the study area

Tim Smith takes in one group's work

Tim Smith takes in one group’s work

Resulting Resource Flow Map

Resulting Resource Flow Map

Lastly, SERA’s Director of Sustainability, Clark Brockman, presented at the South Waterfront EcoDistrict workshop.

South Waterfront EcoDistrict Workshop
(PDF, 4.3 MB)

Also unveiled at the summit was a new video titled “We Build Green Cities” as the centerpiece of a new website by the same name. The video and website are the production of a partnership between the Portland Sustainability Institute, the Portland Development Commission, Business Oregon, and the City of Portland).


  1. This is great. Can I use Riggs/Ray’s quotes for a Summit summary report that PoSI is developing?

  2. NC – Of course you can. And thanks again for putting on such a great event.

  3. Patrick McKinney says |

    Thank you for posting the presentation PDFs. The summit packed way more information than my poor little pen could jot down.

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