Today is the second day of the annual EcoDistricts Summit, hosted by the Portland Sustainability Institute, which will bring together experts to address sustainable development strategies at the neighborhood—or EcoDistricts—level.
PSU hosts second annual EcoDistricts Summit
Today is the second day of the annual EcoDistricts Summit, hosted by the Portland Sustainability Institute, which will bring together experts to address sustainable development strategies at the neighborhood—or EcoDistricts—level. The event is sponsored in conjunction with the Portland State Institute for Sustainable Solutions (ISS).
The whole idea of EcoDistricts is to look at and implement sustainability on the neighborhood scale, said Robert Costanza, director of the ISS. It makes the most sense to focus on sustainability on the level of the neighborhood because this is where most of the development actually happens.
According to Costanza, Portland is a leader in the sustainability movement, especially at the neighborhood level.
“We want Portland to be a center of excellence and development, and for the summit as well,” said Rob Bennett, the executive director of the Portland Sustainability Institute. “Last year saw the modest beginnings of the summit.”
Last year, 100 people attended the summit by invitation. The event included a small number of keynote speakers and breakout discussion sessions.
“This year we are really ramping it up into a two-and-a-half day event with experts and speakers from all over the world,” Bennett said.
The ISS and the Portland Sustainability Institute collaborate on projects like the EcoDistricts Summit to build community-based support for sustainable development.
Yesterday marked the first day of the summit, which opened with Bennett speaking, followed by a number of other speakers from various backgrounds in education, business and policy, according to the summit’s website.
This evening, John Knott, the president, CEO and co-founder of the Noisette Company, will be delivering the keynote address.
Knott and the Noisette Company are responsible for a groundbreaking sustainable development project in North Charleston, S.C., Bennett said.
“[Noisette] underwent a master planning process to rebuild the city and reestablish its historical roots and framework,” Bennett said. “They put together a re-development plan for the city.”
Today there will be dozens of different sessions that are organized by larger topic groups, such as planning and assessment, infrastructure, innovation and engagement. The individual sessions within each larger group will be run by various moderators and will include representatives from organizations around the world.
The topics of the individual sessions today will include: “Community-Based Solar: Solarize Portland,” “Integrated Design at the Neighborhood Scale” and “Grey to Green: Portland’s Green Streets Strategy.”
Earl Blumenaur, congressman of Oregon’s third congressional district, and Sam Adams, mayor of Portland, will speak at the event.
Tomorrow, the final day of the summit, will consist of community development training sessions that are open to the public, as well as tours examining urban and sustainable development around Portland.
Though today’s main events are sold out, registration is still available for the training sessions and tours held tomorrow. The cost of registration for the training and tours ranges from $40 to $150, depending on the session or tour. For more information on the schedule and prices, visit www.ecodistrictssummit.com or call 503-226-2377. ?