2015 EcoDistricts

Birmingham Selected to Participate in Fourth Annual EcoDistricts Incubator

Three-day workshop offers advanced training with sustainability experts to create a more resilient city and more sustainable neighborhoods for all

The City of Birmingham has been selected to participate in the fourth annual EcoDistricts Incubator, held in Portland, Oregon, May 18-20. The non-profit organization, EcoDistricts, hosts the three-day workshop event which provides advanced training for teams working to further developmental efforts for building “sustainable cities from the neighborhood up.”

Birmingham 2015 EcoDistrictsThis year, 12 cities were selected from various regions with neighborhoods representing 5,000 acres of redevelopment across North America. Birmingham was chosen to participate after undergoing a formal application process that involved a review of the city’s goals and objectives and overall vision of a large-scale project meant to foster a vibrant and sustainable community.

Participating teams have already been granted authority to create change in their proposed district. Birmingham’s proposed project targets the city’s Entrepreneurial District, a plot of former railroad and industrial land that has largely remained in disuse since the collapse of the iron and steel industry. Since the redevelopment of surrounding property, which includes the nationally recognized Railroad Park, the district has become home to a diverse mix of more than 250 businesses ranging from local restaurants and retail shops to technology enterprises. The Entrepreneurial District has become a main focus of the city’s strategy for downtown revitalization.

Each team leaves with a customized and comprehensive EcoDistricts Roadmap for their project. “Our approach is simple – deep and authentic sustainability in which the issues of social, cultural and ecological well-being are identified and integrated into a powerful roadmap for neighborhoods,” said Rob Bennett, CEO of EcoDistricts. “With our fourth class of Incubator teams preparing to come to Portland in May, we can now count 43 projects and nearly 200 urban development leaders from across North America working to implement real change in their communities. We are grateful for their commitment and inspiration.”

Birmingham team members participating in the 2015 EcoDistricts workshop are Natalie Kelly of Sustain, a local strategy and media agency, Christopher Datcher with the City of Birmingham, David Fleming and Ben Weisman of REV Birmingham, Bruce Herrington of Herrington Architects, and Dr. Fouad Fouad of UAB.

The team expects Birmingham will benefit from the EcoDistricts experience when its members return with a clearly defined sustainability vision and a better understanding of how emerging tools can add value to project implementation and beyond.

Learn more about the 2015 EcoDistricts Incubator at EcoDistricts.org.

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