Revitalising cities from the neighbourhood up



21 March 2014



An EcoDistrict is a new model of public-private partnership that emphasises innovation and deployment of district-scale best practices to create the neighbourhoods of the future - resilient, vibrant, resource efficient and just.

The EcoDistricts Framework, developed by the EcoDistricts in Portland, Oregon, aims to guide and support implementation across a diverse range of projects, from large-scale brownfield redevelopments to low-income neighborhood revitalisation.

The EcoDistricts Framework is a practical tool to guide innovative district-scale sustainable development projects from concept through implementation. It is specifically designed to help cities and urban development practitioners to be more successful, with an emphasis on process management, integrated project delivery and community collaboration.

Elected leaders and senior council staff of Future Cities Collaborative members joined leading thinker, Rob Bennett, to discuss district scale best practise to create neighbourhoods of the future.

About the workshop

This session provided city leaders and senior council staff with an understanding of the EcoDistricts Framework and its approach to building community sustainability projects.

Rob and Adam drew upon experience from Portland, Oregon's pilot Ecodistricts and illustrated through a case study provided by UrbanGrowthNSW. The technical, financial and policy implications of projects was also addressed.

Drawing from best practice case studies, attendees left the session with the basic knowledge and tools to apply components of the EcoDistricts framework toward their own programs and projects including:

  • Defining the business case for EcoDistricts and why scale matters
  • Identifying key opportunities in your community to develop an EcoDistrict strategy, or components of it
  • Evaluating organisational models for engagement and governance for your ecodistrict
  • Understanding funding mechanisms that support ecodistricts
  • Identifying opportunities to craft public policy to support ecodistrict outcomes


  • Rob Bennett

    Rob Bennett is the founding CEO of EcoDistricts. He is a recognized leader in the sustainable cities movement with 14 years of direct experience shaping municipal sustainable development projects and policy at the intersection of city planning, real estate development, economic development and environmental policy. Before EcoDistricts, Rob worked for two of North America’s most innovative cities, Vancouver, BC and Portland, Ore., and the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation, where he provided technical assistance to cities throughout North America in the areas of climate change reductions and building performance policy.

  • Adam Beck

    Adam has over 17 years of experience in environmental and social planning, with a passion for developing and implementing sustainability tools for built environment projects. Prior to joining EcoDistricts in 2013, Adam spent over three years with the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) developing the Green Star – Communities rating tool in collaboration with government and industry. This work is highly respected globally, being one of few rating tools that covers the full spectrum of sustainability issues across the built environment. Adam has also been involved with the efforts by the World Green Building Council and the C40 Cities Initiative to strengthen global partnerships in sustainable urban development.