2016 Main Conference Presentations
Author, "Where We Want to Live"
PRESENTATION: WHERE WE WANT TO LIVE
Ryan Gravel is an urban planner, designer, and author working on infrastructure, concept development, and policy as the founder of Sixpitch. His master’s thesis launched the Atlanta Beltline, which through fifteen years of progress, is now changing both the physical form of his city and the decisions people make about living there.
Session: Catalytic Placemaking That Changes Cities
Denver is undergoing a massive urban transformation, drawing in a new generation of residents with new demands and a desire to live in the heart of the city. In this main stage panel discussion, a full panel of experts explored Denver’s catalytic neighborhood-scale placemaking projects. We discussed the impact these projects are having on the city and region as a whole, namely in re-imagining how Denver defines livability, thoughtfully addressing the equity gap, minimizing urban sprawl, attracting and keeping residents and local businesses, and returning vibrancy to the Mile High City's urban core.
Bill Carson, Session Moderator
VICE PRESIDENT, COMMUNITY IMPACT STRATEGY, INFUSE™ GROUP, US BANCORP CDC
MANAGING PARTNER, EAST WEST PARTNERS
AUTHOR, "WHERE WE WANTO TO LIVE"
PRESIDENT, URBAN VENTURES LLC
PRINCIPAL, ZEPPELIN DEVELOPMENT
Julian Agyeman, PhD
Professor, Urban & Environmental Policy & Planning, Tufts University
PRESENTATION: THE INTERCONNECTED NEIGHBORHOOD
Julian Agyeman is an EcoDistricts board member, Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University, Medford, MA and co-author of Sharing Cities: A Case for Truly Smart and Sustainable Cities. He was co-founder and now Editor-in-Chief of Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability.
Session: The Interconnected Neighborhood
Over the past 10 years, Denver has reimagined its future as a dynamic, interconnected metro region – with transit and multi-modal connectivity forming the backbone of a multi-jurisdictional investment strategy. The result is a blueprint that supports dense and vibrant neighborhood development and a regional affordable housing strategy that integrates jobs and transportation access. At the same time, a new generation of “last mile” mobility solutions are emerging – utterly transforming the local urban landscape. We spoke with the leaders of this extraordinary mobility revolution and how it is impacting Denver and cities throughout the world.
Dace West, Moderator
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MILE HIGH CONNECTS
VP, MASTER SITE DEVELOPMENT, URBAN LAND CONSERVANCY
DIRECTOR, DOWNTOWN ENVIRONMENT, DOWNTOWN DENVER PARTNERSHIP
GENERAL MANAGER, DENVER REGION, ZIPCAR
US MANAGING DIRECTOR, GEHL INSTITUTE
Founder and Executive Director, Center For Civic Innovation
PRESENTATION: REBUILDING TRUST BETWEEN GOVERNMENT AND COMMUNITY
Rohit Malhotra is the Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Civic Innovation in Atlanta. He served as an Ash Innovation Fellow in the White House Office of Management and Budget, focused on social impact bonds. He is the youngest serving member of the Board of Directors of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce in recent history.
Director, Arts, Culture & Creative Economy
SESSION: THE CIVIC INNOVATION REVOLUTION
Gülgün Kayim, joined the City of Minneapolis August 2011 as the Director of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy. Previously she was the Assistant Director of the Bush Foundation’s Artist Fellowship Program and the University of Minnesota’s Public Art on Campus Coordinator. She has consulted extensively on site-specific performance, public art and artist professional development.
President, Center for Social Inclusion
PRESENTATION: RACIAL EQUITY IS GOOD GOVERNMENT
Glenn Harris has been working on issues of race and social justice for over twenty years. He has worked with community groups, foundations, and government agencies dedicated to building a more democratic, and racially equitable society. Glenn is the President of the Center for Social Inclusion, which works to eliminate structural barriers to opportunity for communities of color.
President, Planning4Health Solutions
KEYNOTE: DNA OF A HEALTHY NEIGHBORHOOD
Michelle Eichinger is President of Planning4Health Solutions, a health and planning consulting firm aimed to integrate health in planning and policy and develop strategies to improve health though equitable solutions. With over 10 years experience addressing health impact in the built environment, Michelle has been a pioneer in assessing health outcomes in planning, design and policies.
Session: The DNA of a Healthy Neighborhood
Increasingly we are learning how our buildings and neighborhoods are contributing to sickness and chronic disease. The green and “well’ building movement has demonstrated that healthy buildings result in fewer sick days and improved productivity for residents, workers, and schoolchildren alike. Wellness, however, is more the building; it includes how our communities are designed to support healthy lifestyles. From access to healthy food to transportation choices, our neighborhood design has serious consequences for health and opportunity. We explored how the intersection of professions – architects, planners, community advocates, developers, technology providers, and health professionals – are working in neighborhoods to design solutions that lead to better health outcomes and overall quality of life.
PRESIDENT, EVIDENT IMPACT, LLC
VICE PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL WELL BUILDING INSTITUTE
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DENVER HOUSING AUTHORITY
PRESIDENT, PLANNING4HEALTH SOLUTIONS
VICE PRESIDENT, NATIONAL DESIGN INITIATIVES, ENTERPRISE COMMUNITY PARTNERS
KEYNOTE: BUILDING COMMUNITY POWER
Michelle Moore is CEO of Groundswell, a nonprofit that builds community power to connect low and moderate income communities with affordable clean energy through place-based programs in equitable community solar and energy efficiency. A social entrepreneur and former White House official with roots in rural Georgia, Michelle is a relentless agent for change.
Session: Mile High ZED
Since publication of its original Climate Action Plan in 2007, Denver has continued to lead in municipal climate planning and the prioritization of clean energy and green infrastructure development. With the 2013 release of its 2020 Sustainability Goals and 2015 Climate Action Plan, Denver is embracing a larger ambition. A panel of ecological design, energy and climate protection leaders talked about the role of “net zero” neighborhoods and districts in elevating a city’s resiliency and deep green agenda.
Dr. Chuck Kutscher
DIRECTOR, BUILDINGS & THERMAL SYSTEMS CENTER, NATIONAL RENEWABLE ENERGY LABORATORY
VICE PRESIDENT, CITYNOW TEAM, PANASONIC USA
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PLANNING, HOUSING AND SUSTAINABILITY, CITY OF BOULDER
Session: Right to Root Recipe: Overcoming the Push/Pull Factors of Displacement Through Equitable Development
Through case studies and small group discussions, speakers provided participants with some tools and strategies for how to address the push/pull factors of displacement and gentrification in their own neighborhoods. Through a Community of Practice facilitation model, participants had an opportunity to workshop the unique displacement pressures impacting their own communities and left with clear next steps as to what they could do to master truly equitable development for all.
*Slide deck not available
FOUNDER & LEAD EQUITY CONSULTANT, RADIX CONSULTING GROUP, LLC
NEXT ECONOMY INNOVATION FELLOW, MOVEMENT STRATEGY
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIVERSITY/ EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, I-SEEED
SENIOR DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR INFRASTRUCTURE EQUITY, POLICYLINK
Session: Taking the High Road: A New Approach to Integrating Social Values
When it comes to infrastructure, the status quo is limiting our potential to invest with our communities’ futures in mind. This session explored the High Road Infrastructure Project’s focus on a community’s ability to provide electricity, waste, stormwater and transportation services while creating valuable benefits and opportunities for the people that live there. The panel provided High Road examples that generate new ways to fund, finance and deliver community wide projects. Breakouts allowed participants to immediately apply these principles to EcoDistrict projects.
DIRECTOR OF STRATEGY + FINANCE, CENTER FOR MARKET INNOVATION, NRDC
Catherine Cox Blair
SENIOR POLICY ADVISOR, URBAN SOLUTIONS, NRDC
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF THE URBAN ENVIRONMENTS & SPORTS GROUP, CH2M
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, I3 INTEGRATION
PRESIDENT AND PRINCIPAL ENGINEER, BRENDLE GROUP
Session: Beyond TIF: A Finance Model for the Phoenix Gateway and Beyond
As traditional sources for infrastructure finance shrink up, would-be EcoDistrict project sponsors are hard pressed to secure financing up-front. For the Reinvent Phoenix project, a method of meeting these costs through pre-development financing using an off-balance-sheet mechanism makes such upfront financing feasible. This method of financing and governing in a mixed use, high density transit oriented district was shared with audience engagement to highlight its potential applicability to EcoDistrict projects across the country
PRINCIPAL, PLACEMAKERS, LLC
PRESIDENT & CO-FOUNDER, CENTER FOR NEIGHBORHOOD TECHNOLOGY (CNT)
CITY PLANNER, CITY AND COUNTY OF DENVER
Session: Bottom Up Community Activation for District-Scale Success
EcoDistrict planning is most successful when project teams focus on not just the technology that allows the community to reduce their environmental impact (the “hardware” of a community), but also on building community capacity to increase the community’s long term ability to shape their own environment (the “software” of a community). In this presentation, presenters demonstrated how community empowerment and placemaking are mutually beneficial and how project teams can meaningfully contribute to resilient and equitable EcoDistricts - in distressed communities or any community. Attendees participated in exercises that demonstrate that the race is really the prize.
PROJECT MANAGER, EVOLVEEA
STRATEGIC PRINCIPAL, EVOLVEEA / PROFESSOR, CARNEGIE MELLON UNVERSITY
SUSTAINABILITY DIRECTOR, BOROUGH OF MILLVALE
Session: Resilience Planning at the District Scale
This session introduced a staged process for preparing a resilience element in community, redevelopment and/or local economic development plans. The approach focuses on all risks to achieving the targeted benefits, functions, and performance of the district. Stakeholders work together to prepare a risk management plan that includes risk hotspot prioritization, mitigation measures, insurance innovation, resilience upgrading, and performance management. Cases from New York, Santa Monica and Toronto, Canada were presented. Table exercises were used to explore the approach.
MANAGING PARTNER, THE NEXT PRACTICE
CITY RESILIENCY SPECIALIST, ICLEI USA
Session: Leading Energy System Transformations in the Mile High City and Beyond
Cities and development teams are working to figure out how to successfully transition to sustainable, zero emission buildings, districts and cities. This session brought together members of both development teams and cities to share how they are tackling this challenge and engage audience members in a discussion on how to better collaborate and affect the change needed to accelerate the transition to zero emissions. First, participants from the Mile High Zero Energy/Emissions District (ZED) provided an overview of four projects and the approach to collaboration they are using to enhance each project's individual efforts and overcome policy barriers. Then, participants heard from members of a team working to develop a guide supported by the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance focused on decarbonizing cities’ energy systems.
DIRECTOR, DENVER PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT, COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY
SENIOR ENERGY EFFICIENCY RESEARCH ENGINEER, NREL
MANAGER, DEMAND PLANNING, DENVER WATER
SENIOR ENVIRONMENT & CLIMATE PLANNER, CITY OF BOULDER
PLANNER, INTEGRAL GROUP • @
Session: Healthy Communities Designed
There is a long history of the powerful and direct relationship between the design of cities and public health, and it has become more significant as the world becomes more urbanized with people continuing to locate to cities. This session shared explicit real-world examples how policies and urban design solutions are applied in neighborhoods to achieve healthy communities in the areas of better physical environmental, economic opportunities, and social outcomes.
SENIOR PLANNER, GENSLER
SENIOR ASSOCIATE, GENSLER
WARD 8 NEIGHBORHOOD PLANNER, DC OFFICE OF PLANNING
Session: Smart Districts Powering Sustainable Cities
Integrated data and information communication technology is starting to become a critical backbone to sustainable city-making and management. Our ability to gather and analyze data and create interconnected information platforms for the purposes of building greater intelligence of our urban systems, is rapidly evolving. When we embrace a smart cities lens to our district and neighborhood planning and design processes, the opportunities to create more livable, efficient, and resilient communities are enhanced. This studio session offered a panel of smart cities leaders who shared real-life case studies of how a smart cities agenda in neighborhood development can lead to sustainable outcomes.
ASSOCIATE PARTNER, ZGF ARCHITECTS
PRINCIPAL, NUTTER CONSULTING
CONSERVATION PROGRAM SPECIALIST, AUSTIN ENERGY
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SMART CITIES COUNCIL AUSTRALIA NEW ZEALAND
Session: A Just Transition to Clean Energy and Climate Resilience
Climate resiliency experts lead a roundtable discussion with participants that explored implementation of the federal Clean Power Plan in a manner that not only mitigates climate change but also prioritizes neighborhood scale clean energy options and green job opportunities in environmental justice communities. Public works policy-makers and professionals, civic engagement and research specialists, and community development experts engaged in a multi-faceted discussion about the roles they will play in the just transition to clean energy and climate resilience.
CIVIL ENGINEER AND ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNER, E4PROGRESS PLANNING AND ENGINEERING
Dr. Nicky Sheats
DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR THE URBAN ENVIRONMENT, THOMAS EDISON STATE COLLEGE
GULFPORT BRANCH PRESIDENT, NAACP
Session: Water Infrastructure: Triumphs and Tears
What works (and what fails) to create sustainable water infrastructure? At the district level, energy is often considered easier to manage than water, in part because of complexity and quantity of existing water infrastructure. Each of four panelists briefly presented their insights on improving the integration of water strategies, addressing challenges in engineering, regulatory compliance, community support, and ecological function. A facilitated discussion followed.
METROPOLITAN WATER RECLAMATION DISTRICT OF GREATER CHICAGO, ARGONNE NATIONAL LABORATORIES
SENIOR ENGINEER, BIOHABITATS
Session: Finding A Common Language: Performance Metrics for Key Stakeholders
Attendees learned how developers, designers and public agencies are measuring the success of their land use projects, considering equity, resilience and climate change preparedness. We zoomed into specific case studies presented by the designers who created them, while also zooming out to two different organizations researching them to identify key performance metrics that help us all speak a common language. The Landscape Performance Series, a set of online resources to help make the case for sustainable landscape solutions was introduced, along with the Urban Land Institute’s work on identifying metrics for resilient development projects.
* No slide deck available
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE FOUNDATION
PARTNER & LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT, MITHUN
DIRECTOR, URBAN RESILIENCE, URBAN LAND INSTITUTE
ASSOCIATE, DESIGN WORKSHOP
Session: California’s Climate Investment Fund: Transformational Communities
Years before the Paris accords, the State of California passed pioneering legislation to decarbonize the state, catalyzing a series of cross-sector initiatives investing in sustainable communities. Fees on industries (cap and trade) has translated into several billions of dollars a year invested in green energy, housing, transportation, and natural resources – focused on communities most impacted by pollution. California is building the first high-speed rail system in North America, and has embraced the eco-district framework for their 24 station cities across 500 miles. This session provided an overview of the HSR system and Authority sustainability priorities including details of how ecodistricts catalyze conditions of the system’s success and how government entities can scale-up the EcoDistricts Protocol.
PLANNING & INTEGRATION MANAGER, CALIFORNIA HIGH SPEED RAIL
SENIOR SUSTAINABILITY DIRECTOR, PARSONS BRINCKERHOFF
Session: Ecodistrict Live and Learn, Try and Tell
Excited (or anxious) about district/neighborhood-scale planning, but not sure it’s feasible in your area? Overwhelmed by technical feasibility? Unsure how to convene a successful coalition to plan, champion, and implement an EcoDistrict? Attendees in this session heard honest, real-life successes and challenges from 3 unique San Francisco EcoDistricts: Chinatown (established and dense), Central SoMa (transitioning for major growth), and Mission Rock (blank-slate new neighborhood). Then, each brought a personal challenge to a break-out group discussion (in topic areas such as equity, district-scale infrastructure, performance targets, partnership building, and more), learned from other professionals grappling with similar issues, and came away with new ideas, resources, networks, and inspiration for moving ahead.
Lisa J. Fisher
URBAN PLANNER, SUSTAINABLE CITY TEAM, SAN FRANCISCO PLANNING DEPARTMENT
URBAN PLANNER, SUSTAINABLE CITY TEAM, SAN FRANCISCO PLANNING DEPARTMENT
DIRECTOR, ATELIER TEN
Session: Stories From Across the Pond: Successful Urban Regeneration in Europe
This session examined two different approaches to successful neighborhood regeneration in Europe. Rosengard, Malmö, Sweden successfully moved from a period of riots, due to a disenfranchised immigrant population by actively engaging and empowering young Muslim women in participatory place making. They organized and led design workshops, redesigning the town center, creating a social space and climate action gardens working with Rosengard residents and the City of Malmö Environmental and Parks Departments. In the Netherlands, unlike traditional developments initiated by cities, developers and housing corporations, the pilot brownfield transformation of the Buiksloterham district of Amsterdam-Noord was intentionally organic; based on simple urban plans in which individuals and groups could build their own housing. The prototype district has been a smashing success, paying a clear "resilience dividend" for the area with increased diversity, economic resiliency, and environmental performance.
*No slide deck available
Paul B. Crane
PRINCIPAL, ATELIER CRANE