The Portland Sustainability Institute (PoSI) introduced the EcoDistrict Initiative as a strategy to launch district and neighborhood-scaled sustainability planning throughout the Portland metropolitan region. They define an EcoDistrict as, “neighborhood or district with a broad commitment to accelerate neighborhood-scale sustainability. EcoDistricts commit to achieving ambitious sustainability performance goals, guiding district investments and community action, and tracking the results over time.” Five pilot EcoDistricts (Gateway, Foster Green, South of Market, South Waterfront, and Lloyd District) have each committed to advance environmental innovations, drive economic prosperity, and empower their communities in the process towards becoming an EcoDistrict.
SERA led a consultant team hired to prepare an integrated sustainability assessment and action plan for the Gateway and Foster Green pilot EcoDistricts. The purpose of this exercise was to establish performance baselines, set targets, match neighborhood characteristics with viable opportunities, and screen and assess strategies for nine performance areas (energy, air quality and carbon, water, access and mobility, placemaking, social cohesion, habitat and ecosystem function, materials management and equitable development). This combination of data driven analysis and community participation resulted in strategy frameworks and lists of priority projects that work toward EcoDistrict goals.