Business-as-usual development does not prepare our cities for today’s climate and economic uncertainties. As CNT looks to create equitable, resilient communities we find that energy, water, transportation and waste must be addressed as systems, rather than on a purely building-by-building basis. District-scale innovation allows us to do just that. Sustainable infrastructure at a multi-building, or multi-block level can provide clean energy, transportation access, and healthy water while preserving affordability and better protecting us against risks like urban flooding. It can also create green jobs and economic development opportunities as companies increasingly look to locate in areas that support their sustainability and livability goals. CNT served on the advisory committee for the development of the EcoDistricts Protocol which identifies equity, resilience, and climate protection as the three “imperatives” that drive all EcoDistrict efforts. CNT’s EcoDistrict work addresses essential implementation factors, including site selection, governance. community control, financing, policy, and documenting the many benefits that come from sustainable infrastructure.
Work has included showing how the EcoDistrict concept can be applied to industrial and manufacturing development, specific case studies on Chicago’s Central Manufacturing District and the food manufacturing incubation industry and Chicago’s Hatchery, EcoDistrict Feasibility Studies for Elevated Chicago’s targeted transit areas, and in financing and infrastructure modeling for Phoenix, AZ.