The summit program is currently in the works and being edited daily. Please check back regularly for updates!

Sunday, November 3rd - Preconference Events

  • 9:00AM - 12:00PM — Protocol Advisory Meeting

    Location – Omni Hotel

  • 11:30AM - 4:45PM — Research Forum

    Location – Chatham University Eden Hall Campus

    Separate Registration of $25 Required, available soon

    Neighborhoods are rich places of learning when many people come to share expertise. The Research Forum @ SummitPGH will explore how community-embedded research can equitable benefit both the community and the academic institution.Sometimes called community-based participatory research, the Forum will gather community members, students, and academic professionals to discuss how they can collaborate to equitably advance community efforts and increase knowledge through shared decision-making and ownership.

    The Research Forum is a chance for local and national participants to discuss what roles can and should research institutions—both in and beyond universities—play in a transition toward sustainable practices. The Forum will include interactive panels and working sessions that explore:

    • How have communities developed, leveraged, and negotiated their relationships with research institutions to pursue equitable sustainable development?
    • What are the opportunities and challenges in aligning the goals of research and practice?
    • What topics are addressed in regional and national research and where can we collaborate to advance research and practice?
    • How can community embedded research create change at a neighborhood and a regional scale?

    The Research Forum is a locally hosted, one day event to highlight regional and national research activities and leadership in urban and community development and to discuss opportunities for deeper collaborations regionally and nationally. The Forum is open to all conference registrants and academics and practitioners are encouraged to attend. The Forum activities include presentations on featured research and education, activities to build an ecodistrict agenda, identification of collaboration opportunities, and next steps to build relationships between institutions. The event requires a separate registration and a small fee.

    11:30 AM – 12:30 PM

    Registration & Welcome

    Eden Hall Campus Tour & Lunch

    12:30 PM – 1:00 PM

    Welcome to Eden Hall

    The Campus as a Living-Learning Lab

    1:00 PM – 1:30 PM

    Research Forum Introduction

    1:30 PM – 2:15 PM
    Opening Panel: The community-embedded ecodistrict research experience

    Pittsburgh is emerging as a national leader in the development and pursuit of district-scale sustainable urbanism. This panel explores how two Pittsburgh ecodistricts develop, leverage, and negotiate their relationships with research institutions to shape and pursue equitable sustainable development. Their experiences pose opportunities for reflection about how communities can connect their needs for, interests in, and work on sustainable development to the frameworks, practice, and conventions of research at regional universities.

    2:15 PM – 4:00PM
    Facilitated Working Session            

    Using Pittsburgh as an example, this session offers participants an opportunity to discuss points of alignment and disjuncture the research community and the priorities, needs, and practices of district-scale sustainability initiatives. Small working groups will be organized according to shared challenges and opportunities associated with pursuing community-embedded ecodistrict research. The session will help define best practices towards community-embedded ecodistrict research and will contribute to the formation of a regional/national research agenda.

    4:00 PM – 4:45 PM
    Closing Panel: Opportunities for community-embedded ecodistrict research

    What roles can and should research institutions—both in and beyond universities—play in Pittsburgh’s sustainability transition? Where are the strengths and gaps in these roles, and how can they be strategically developed to critically engage with and support Pittsburgh’s sustainable development? What relationships between communities and research institutions can and should be cultivated, with what implications for the expertise, responsibility, and scales of impact exercised and experienced by Pittsburgh communities, universities, and other centers of research? How can we re-envision an ethical, financially-viable role for universities in Pittsburgh’s sustainability transition?

  • 1:00PM - 4:00PM — EcoDistricts Certified Cohort Workshop

    Location – Omni Hotel

  • 6:00PM - 7:30PM — Host Committee Reception

    Location – Green Building Alliance

Monday, November 4th - Summit Day 1

  • 8:00AM - 9:00AM — Breakfast and Registration
  • 9:00AM - 9:15AM — Emcee Welcome & Announcements
  • 9:15AM - 9:45AM — Summit Welcome
  • 9:45AM - 10:15AM — EcoDistricts Address
  • 10:15AM - 10:45AM — Break
  • 10:45AM - 12:15PM — Breakout Sessions

    15 Minute Ignite Talks - International

    Places for People (South Africa)
    Shaakira Chohan | Architect, Urbanist & Development Manager, Johannesburg Development Agency

    Bringing Bellville Back: Exploring the Critical Role of Secondary Cities in an African Context
    Warren Hewitt | CEO, Greater Tygerberg Partnership

    Neighborhoods as Commons: Housing Coop Renaissance (Zurich)
    Stefan Gruber | Associate Professor, Architecture & Urban Design, Carnegie Mellon University

    Water, Nutrients, and Food: Innovation at the District Scale

    Peter Muñoz | Senior Engineer, Biohabitats
    Barton Kirk | Principal, Ethos Collaborative

    Buckle up… this is going to be a wild ride. We’ve assembled a group of folks at the leading/bleeding edge of water, nutrients, and food innovation. Each will share a unique perspective, lessons learned, and/or inspiring direction about creative solutions happening at the district scale. The session will use strict pecha kucha format (20 self-advancing slides every 20 seconds)… so each person is given 6 minutes and 40 seconds to share. It will be crazy… and you won’t want to miss a second of it. After eight separate inspiring talks will be a guided question and answer session.

    Cultural Resilience: Principles, Practice, and Evaluation

    Meghan Venable-Thomas | Program Director, Enterprise Community Partners
    Nella Young | Senior Program Director, Enterprise Community Partners

    Learn how community development groups are applying Cultural Resilience Principles generated from research on climate resilience, creative placemaking, and public health. Give feedback on a tool being developed to guide others in building cultural resilience in their projects and communities.

    Smart Digital EcoDistricts

    Moderator: Melanie Nutter | Principal, Nutter Consulting
    Avinash Patwardhan | Jacobs
    Antwi Akom | Streetwyze
    Dr. JaNay Queen Nazaire | Living Cities
    Harsha Bhat | Nokia

    Smart digital services in cities can be designed to better serve the elderly and disabled, enhance mobility and reduce congestion, increase access to healthcare and employment opportunities, increase safety and emergency response, reduce water losses, increase energy savings and optimize waste management services. This session will describe how smart city applications will make a difference for all members of the community by helping them harness the benefits of digital technology. The session will focus on demonstrated built projects that enhance equity, resilience and sustainability needs and outcomes. Presenters will share the methodology and process for implementation to help audience members learn how to implement smart city technologies in their own ecodistrict projects.

    Theory to Practice: Equitable Community Development

    Marimba Milliones | President and CEO, Hill Community Development Corporation
    Irvin Henderson | Principal, Henderson & Company

    The role of people, policy and place will be central to this discussion on how to advance equity in real estate development. Tools such as community land trust, community-level review of development projects, advocacy strategies, community benefits agreements and local legislation will be deeply explored. Lessons learned from one of Pittsburgh’s most resilient, celebrated, historic and challenged areas of redevelopment will be anatomically dissected for participants to gain useful insights and practical strategies.

  • 12:15 PM - 1:15 PM — Lunch
  • 1:15 PM - 2:15 PM — Local Leadership Plenary

    Fred Brown | President, The Forbes Funds
    Grant Ervin | Chief Resilience Officer, City of Pittsburgh
    Christine Mondor | Principal, evolveEA

  • 2:15 PM - 5:30 PM — Studio Tours

    Inclusive Planning: Engaging Community to Plan for the Future

    Homewood is one of just 90 city neighborhoods in the City of Pittsburgh. In April 2019 the community unveiled a Comprehensive Community Plan includes 21 overarching goals for the neighborhood, from improving air quality to better managing vacant property, improving local schools and increasing transit and affordable housing. The plan includes goals focus on food access including forming a group to develop the creation of a food cooperative that can sell affordable, healthy groceries and plans to expand skill-sharing programs to encourage home gardening and build community knowledge around growing food.

    During this studio tour participants will learn strategies used by the Homewood community to develop an equitable community plan, how the EcoDistricts protocol helped to inform the plan and will gain strategies to take back to their communities. A focus will be on transferring learning to inform the community plans that will be developed in Hazelwood, Knoxville and Beltzhoover neighborhoods.

    The Tale of Three Stations

    Micro-mobility and how it can co-exist with Capital T public transit. How to develop equitable TODs. Zoning issues around TOD (in the Pittsburgh region the land that would be used for a TOD is generally
    owned by the municipality- this creates zoning and other issues that can make developing a TOD very difficult. Discuss how to work with the transit agency to accomplish this work. Pick up on Railvolution themes. Add affordable housing component. Focus on transit plans including: Uptown Ecodistrict (BRT
    plan), East Busway, East Liberty TRID.

    Combined with The Larimer Neighborhood of the City of Pittsburgh is a Choice Neighborhood Awardee. Much has been
    accomplished in Larimer, but the fight is not over and a lot of foundation dollars have been invested. Issues around transportation and STEM programming could be featured. Theme should include how even after investment and focus is put on a neighborhood to redevelop, the work is on-going and the residents and elected officials need to be mindful that the fight for their community is on-going.

    Grass roots strategies to activate ecodistrict movements

    This session will introduce the Millvale ecodistrict, an award-winning community-driven initiative. It will explore the strategies used to develop the ecodistrict and focus on how they leveraged a deep-dive air quality study to educate the community, improve conditions, and contribute to the community’s overall goals. We will explain how our approach of engaging citizens in the monitoring and air quality planning process helps to build community expertise, raise awareness, and inspire action. Through the story of Millvale, the presentation will demonstrate the benefits of coupling placemaking, performance and civic engagement for successful ecodistrict and community planning.

    This case study will show how citizen science and community engagement were used to build community capacity; how a bottom-up approach was used to address a regional problem; and will engage attendees in hands-on activities, such as an air quality game.

    First In: Lessons Learned from First Project in New District (Mill 19 & Innovation District)

    Centre District: Lower Hill Redevelopment

    The redevelopment of the former Civic Arena site (which was an urban renewal project built using eminent domain displaced 8,000 residents and 400 businesses from the historically black neighborhood) has been controversial and has taken the community a number of years and plans to reach this point.

    This session will bring together community stakeholders, developers and leadership from the Pittsburgh Penguins to discuss the on-going plans for the Lower Hill redevelopment project. Plans announced in early 2019 and embraced by local and state political leaders include Cap Connection Park, Housing, Office and Retail, a Public Park, Curtain Call (public art project), Small Business Opportunities and a Sustainable Energy Hub.

    The project is anticipated to attract over $750 million in private investment, generate about $25 million in annual tax revenue to the City of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Public Schools, Allegheny County and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It will also generate over 4,000 construction jobs and 3,000 permanent positions.

  • 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM — Break
  • 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM — Block Party

    Location – TBA

Tuesday, November 5th - Summit Day 2

  • 8:00 AM - 8:30 AM — Breakfast and Registration
  • 8:30 AM - 8:35 AM — Emcee Welcome & Announcements
  • 8:35 AM - 9:30 AM — Keynote

    Liz Ogbu | Founder & Principal, Studio O

    Do No Harm: What it Means to Work for Spatial Justice
    Concepts like equity have become part of mainstream conversations of what it means to build more inclusive cities is something that we should celebrate. But as we see increasing inequality, rising social and political tensions, and growing areas of exclusion, it’s becoming clear that catalyzing more just cities requires more. This talk will explore what it means to think of community development work in this context and how we need to move beyond basic notions of equity to the more critical framing of justice, one that holds more challenging concepts like harm, complicity, and healing.

  • 9:30 AM - 9:45 AM — Break
  • 9:45 AM - 10:45 AM — Breakout Sessions

    15 Minute Ignite Talks - Climate

    Making Motley Decisions: Fulfilling District Goals
    Sam Rockwell | Director of Community Development and Innovation, University of Minnesota Foundation Real Estate Advisors

    Scaling up Green Infrastructure Initiatives
    Steve Whitman, EdD, AICP | Founder & Principal, Resilience Planning & Design. LLC

    Smart Surfaces for Human Health & Resilient Cities
    Vivian Loftness | Professor of Architecture, Carnegie Mellon University

    Environmental Justice for Atlanta's Westside

    Dhiru Thadani | Thadani Architects + Urbanists

    Atlanta’s Westside consists of several low- and middle-income historic African-American neighborhoods that have been flooding for several years. Largely caused by negligent infrastructure planning and an increase in impervious surfaces in the downtown area. Enlisting funds from Atlanta’s commercial and philanthropic groups, a plan was adopted to regenerate over 1,700 acres of blighted historic urban fabric and create a eco-district, promote urban agriculture, and develop a comprehensive stormwater infrastructure plan.

    East Harbour: Building Consensus with Stakeholder Engagement

    Juhee Oh | WSP
    Nadia Yen | First Gulf

    The success of district-scale urban regeneration projects requires feedback, engagement, and consensus-building from multiple stakeholders. Workshops are an important method for soliciting input from stakeholders, as they help define the project’s sustainability indicators, priorities, and objectives.  The East Harbour development in Toronto has successfully run over a dozen workshops in support of the Roadmap Phase of Ecodistricts certification. Ranging in size from 10 to 150 participants, these workshops have been attended by a variety of stakeholders, including those from the public, private, and non-profit sectors. This interactive session will demonstrate the tools and techniques that are scalable for a variety of projects.

    A Case Study for Urban Waterfront Regeneration

    Blake Jackson | Stantec

    This session looks at The Eddy, a case study for urban waterfront regeneration in Boston, MA. It is a mixed-use multifamily project adjacent to Boston Harbor and is the product of a rigorous design brief targeting LEED Gold. It also weaves in tenets of the ImagineBoston2030 masterplan, Boston’s first comprehensive plan in 50+ years, which addresses the need for resilience along Boston’s 47-mile coast. This presentation illustrates how the developer, community, and municipality worked together to weave this project into the masterplan to the benefit of each party and the citizens “upstream”, now and into the future.

  • 10:45 AM - 11:00 AM — Break
  • 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM — Breakout Sessions

    15 Minute Ignite Talks - Food

    A Systems Perspective of Food in a World of Climate Change
    Steven Baumgartner | Urban Systems Strategist, Principal SmithGroup

    Access to Food: An Urban Livability Metric
    Cindy Trivisonno
    Urban Designer/Project Coordinator, Crandall Arambula

    Converting Urban Food Deserts to Food Oases
    Mark Buehrer | Director, 2020 ENGINEERING

    Planning for the Future of Food
    Dawn Plummer | Executive Director, Pittsburgh Food Policy Council


    Stephen Klimek | Project Manager, Towerside Innovation District
    Catherine Reid Day | Board Chair, Creative Enterprise Zone

    Learn how Creative Clustering and Innovation District approaches to community and economic development are actively being used in conjunction with the EcoDistricts Protocol to transform several neighborhoods in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Panelists will present case studies of community-born visions for cohesive neighborhood redevelopment in post-industrial areas with multiple property owners and an influx of investment and real estate development. The session will explore successes and challenges in equitable transit oriented development, integrated district-scale infrastructure systems, creative placemaking and public realm projects – as well as organizational structures, governance, and strategies for influencing real estate development and public policy.

    How to Develop a Roadmap to Achieve Equity in Your Community

    Victoria Johnson | Jacobs Engineering
    Oluwole McFoy | Buffalo Sewer Authority
    Jamil Bey | UrbanKind Institute

    Anchor institutions in the community, such as water and wastewater utilities, in partnership with community-based organizations, have a unique opportunity to go beyond their traditional mandate of providing clean water to rate payers, and serve as community leaders that can boost the economy, create jobs and achieve equity in underserved communities. This panel consists of 3 cities: Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Louisville. Each city has developed a customized roadmap to achieve equity in its local communities.

    Reality Check: Administration of Place-based Metrics

    Uwe Brandes | Georgetown University

    Is the practice of place management in alignment with prevailing theory?  This session will report on a year-long research project to identify the actual metrics being used by place management organizations across the Washington D.C. metropolitan region through the Georgetown Place Leadership Project.  An interactive discussion with the executive directors of place-based organizations will follow.

    Creating Healthy Communities: Engage, Execute, Evaluate

    Michaella Whittmann | HDR, Inc.
    Doug Bisson | HDR, Inc.
    Jeri Brittin | HDR, Inc.
    Charlie Hales | HDR, Inc.

    Sustainability and health and wellness goals are continuing to converge as priorities on projects. This session will leave attendees with information on how to integrate and address both types of goals on projects ranging from building to neighborhood scale, using one overarching example. Attendees will leave with tools on how to plan for success in meeting these goals, information on rating systems that can be used to measure success and ideas on using pre and post-evaluations to measure outcomes.

  • 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM — Lunch
  • 1:30 PM - 3:00 PM — Breakout Sessions

    Building Healthy Cities: Can We Distribute Health and Wellbeing Equitably?

    Greg Zucca | MetroHealth
    Jasmin Santana | Cleveland City Council
    Ricardo Leon | Metro West Community Development Corporation
    Adam Perzynski | Center for Health Care Research and Policy
    Keisha Gonzales | Cleveland Foundation

    The US, like most developed and developing nations worldwide, struggles to meet the ever-increasing demand for healthcare. While life expectancy has increased for most middle and high-income citizens, it has stagnated and even declined in most cities’ poorest neighborhoods and in communities of color. MetroHealth believes that the national approach to health has to transform and, as part of a major campus transformation, MetroHealth seeks to create better health outcomes in the community it anchors, Clark-Fulton on Cleveland’s near west side. Attend this informative panel discussion to hear how Cleveland’s MetroHealth hospital, the local Council Representative, the local CDC and area philanthropies are using the EcoDistricts Protocol to foster cross-sector collaboration moving from isolated projects and programs to systems of programs and projects that are deeply interrelated and mutually reinforcing.

    Designing for Zero Waste Districts

    Clare Miflin | ThinkWoven
    Christina Grace | Foodprint Group
    Juliette Spertus | ClosedLoop, LLC

    District-scale solutions are often the most effective way of achieving zero waste and improving the quality of the public realm. In this session the team that led the development of the Zero Waste Design Guidelines share best practice strategies and case studies for waste management from e-waste to food waste. Learn the multiple benefits from taking a collaborative approach to developing neighborhood solutions for reducing waste, and how engaging residents and business owners creates transformative and resilient solutions. Attendees will have an opportunity to workshop solutions for a zero waste district.

    An Equitable Approach to Governance and Consensus Building

    Don Edwards |  CEO, Justice and Sustainability Associates
    Emily McKenzie | Project Coordinator, Justice & Sustainability Associates
    Donzell Robinson | Chief Operating Officer, Justice and Sustainability Associates, LLC

    Justice and Sustainability Associates will conduct an interactive session around the design and implementation of large and small group, multi-stakeholder processes that combine impartial facilitation and mediation, information and education with stakeholder engagement to support equity in decision making.

    Introducing Digital Community Currencies in Urban Areas

    Michael Marks |Groundswell Research Associates, Daniel Little | involveMINT
    Miriam Parson | ioby Pittsburgh
    Chardae Jones | Mayor, City of Braddock, PA

    This session reviews innovations in digital community currencies (DCCs) and how communities use DCCs to maximize existing and build new community assets/resources that enhance community resilience and self-determination, [MM1] augment quality of life, address health/income inequities and foster circular economies. Presenters will review history and examples of DCCs; highlighting commonalities/differences in mission/vision, governance, architecture, transactionality and stakeholder involvement. Panelists will discuss the potential benefits and challenges of integrating the currency within existing community change efforts. Participants knowledgeable about alternative economies and those initial learners will benefit from the presentations and lively discussion.

    Public Realm and Resilience: Inspiring Accelerators

    Debra Guenther | Design Partner Mithun
    Connie Chung | Managing Principal, HR&A Advisors
    Kathy Blaha | President, Kathy Blaha Consulting

    How can parks, streets and open spaces in cities be designed to help communities adapt to climate change, resilience in an equitable way? What is the technical knowledge needed and how can it be shared to advance this work and build neighborhood advocacy? Built on reciprocal exchange of information and self-determination in underserved neighborhoods public realm investments can become tools for social change. This session will ground how to use climate change data, and highlight risk and park management strategies. A reciprocal exchange of information with the audience in a workshop will use each participant’s experience to identify and envision potential ways to accelerate their own neighborhood projects.

  • 3:00 PM - 3:15 PM — Break
  • 3:15 PM - 4:20 PM — Closing Keynote

    Kofi Boone, ASLA | Professor of Landscape Architecture, North Carolina State University, College of Design

    The Just and the Green: Confronting Green Inequities
    The impact of racism has long influenced the design of cities and cultural landscapes. Kofi Boone, a Detroit native and Professor of Landscape Architecture at NC State University in the College of Design, has been at the forefront of challenging the design community to confront racism and work towards environmental justice. His award winning design work in landscape architecture focuses on making culture and democratic design fundamental. Kofi will illustrate his research, case studies, and insights from project work in his provocative keynote presentation “The Just and the Green: Confronting Green Inequities”.

    Kofi’s work illustrates the need for “green” advocates to reckon with the legacy of assuming a focus on non-human ecological processes superseding people, places, and cultural practices. He offers up strategies for reconciling environmental best practices with authentic community engagement will be offered as a way forward in the shared pursuit of a green and just society for all.

    The design field is grappling with the consequences of global climate change and how it is revealing the long-standing processes entrenching social inequality and environmental injustice. Our most vulnerable communities facing the consequences of massive environmental disruption and change are rarely first in line to benefit from green planning and design innovations. This green divide between the “just” seeking social and environmental equity and the “green” seeking ecological and economic opportunity represents one of the most important conflicts in need of reconciliation.

  • 4:20 PM - 4:30 PM — Closing Reflections
  • 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM — Networking Dinners / Bar Crawl

Wednesday, November 6 - Post-Conference Events

  • 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM — EcoDistricts Foundation Course

    Location TBA

  • 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM — EcoDistricts Board Meeting

    Location – TBA