Kendall Square Ecodistrict and the New Face of American Cities


Central Square at night Credit: Eric Kilby

May 29, 2013 - Today, 5 delegates from the Kendall Square Neighborhood and the Cambridge Community Development Department will gather in Portland, Oregon for the EcoDistricts Incubator.  The Incubator is a three-day intensive workshop designed to accelerate city revitalization and sustainable development at the neighborhood scale (vs. doing it building by building).  EcoDistricts (formerly known as the Portland Sustainability Institute) selected 8 cities to attend, including Bend (OR), Burlington (VT), Charleston (SC), Denver (CO), Oakland (CA), Orlando (FL), and San Diego (CA).

Cambridge is part of a growing movement of cities that are taking on sustainable neighborhood revitalization projects in an effort to create jobs, save resources, lower carbon emissions and include at-risk communities that are often left out of neighborhood sustainability and revitalization movements.  Thus far, the EcoDistricts Incubator and Summit have served more than 2,000 of the world's leading urban planners, citymakers, policymakers, and community leaders over the last four years in an effort to change the face of cities - for the better.

The 2013 Incubator includes a mix of presentations by leading North American practitioners and facilitated work sessions designed to help Kendall Square develop an EcoDistrict roadmap.  The Incubator is designed around the pioneering EcoDistricts Framework, which emphasizes the integration of smart infrastructure, green buildings and community engagement. The Framework provides a practical template to build support, drive projects and measure results through four action areas: 1) District Organization: organizational formation, building alliances, and setting goals; 2) District Assessment: creating a performance based neighborhood sustainability roadmap that addresses the eight EcoDistrict Performance areas; 3) Project Development: launching catalytic district-scale sustainability projects; and 4) District Management: developing district governance to guide long-term project implementation.

The Growing EcoDistricts Movement

EcoDistricts are a new model of public-private partnership that emphasize innovation and deployment of district-scale best practices to create the neighborhoods of the future - resilient, vibrant, resource efficient and just. Since 2008, the majority of global citizens live in cities for the first time.  How we live in cities is one the great challenges of our time, and urban leaders of all stripes - from mayors to community activists - see EcoDistricts as the key to solving many of their challenges, and they are launching transformative projects.  These projects include comprehensive management strategies for energy, water, waste, recycling, green infrastructure and mobility, as well as strategies and programs for community engagement.

For more information

Contact Bronwyn Cooke, Sustainability Planner, at 617/349-4604, or