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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Presenting 2030 Districts: Urban Sustainability Through Collaboration

March 7th, 2017 by Susan Smith

Dave Low, Network Liaison for the private-sector led 2030 Districts, spoke about the recent development of that group’s establishment of a non-profit separate from Architecture 2030, an organization that provides support for the goal of reaching carbon-neutrality in buildings by the year 2030.

After five years of support and oversight from Architecture 2030, the fifteen 2030 Districts across North America have established their own non-profit.

As part of this move, the 2030 Districts have selected the following thirteen members to its initial Board of Governors:

Name Organization Name Organization
Tyler Harris General Services Administration (GSA) Anna Siefken Carnegie Mellon University
Jason Kobeda Major League Baseball Jiri Skopek Jones Lang LaSalle
Edward Mazria Architecture 2030 Tim Thiel Covestro, LLC
Sara Neff Kilroy Realty Jon Utech The Cleveland Clinic
Brett Phillips Unico Properties Jenita Warner Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District
Dave Pogue CBRE Jill Ziegler Forest City Realty Trust
Megan Saunders Stamford 2030 District

2030 Districts have been established in cities across North America representing grassroots efforts to provide a business model for urban sustainability through collaboration, leveraged financing, and shared resources. The 2030 Districts are dedicated to working towards a common goal of meeting the energy, water, and transportation emissions reduction targets for existing buildings and new construction called for by Architecture 2030 in its 2030 Challenge for Planning.

For five years, 2030 Districts has been growing with oversight from Architecture 2030. Now the fifteen 2030 Districts have established their own non-profit, the 2030 Districts Network, to support their efforts.

The 2030 Districts Network includes more than 290 million square feet of member-owned real estate, over 1,000 buildings, and over 600 different member organizations.

AECCafe Voice: What benefits do you see going forward without the oversight of Architecture 2030?

Dave Low: The biggest benefit is the ability to expand.  Architecture 2030 is an incubator of ideas like the 2030 Districts and does not have the capacity nor the desire to handle the operation of the Network.  It was always their intention to launch the venture and have it stand on its own when the time was right.  We hope that on its own, the Network will be able to expand to other cities around North America and the world.  Urban areas are the largest contributors to climate change and they need to be a large part of the solution.  By continuing to expand the Network, we can continue to help urban areas reduce resource use.

AECCafe Voice: How do you plan to sustain the progress you’ve made with cities on reducing greenhouse gases under the current Administration?

Dave Low: We feel strongly that the current climate is one which will stress the concept of truly local solutions to climate change.  The 2030 Districts are the perfect local solution as they bring together all of the important parties in the commercial real estate space in a municipality and those parties work together to achieve a local goal which in turn helps to address the global issue of climate change.  The 2030 Districts Network will help the local Districts by providing them much needed resources and expanded access to tools, benefits and resources while allowing them to continue to operate locally.  While the Administration may make changes to policy, the business world has come to understand that addressing climate change is a business necessity and will continue to do so despite the impediments.  2030 Districts are a perfect venue to help business act locally to make a difference.

AECCafe Voice: Do you see the work you do extending to smaller cities as well?

Dave Low: We currently have 2030 Districts in Ithaca, NY, Portland, ME, Grand Rapids, MI and Stamford, CT all of which we think of as smaller cities.  The model is working well for those cities and we think that it can be successful in any city if the right organizations are involved.

AECCafe Voice: Will you have some connection to Architecture 2030 and if so, what amount of involvement?

Dave Low: Architecture 2030 has a permanent seat on the 2030 Districts Network Board so they will always be involved in the direction of the Network.  We will remain in close contact over the first several years as we transition many of the resources from Architecture 2030 to the new Network.

AECCafe Voice: What types of software do you use to do analysis at the various cities, or do they use something proprietary?

Dave Low: We do not have a standard which is used in all cities although we have worked closely with The Urban Land Institute’s Green Print platform and hope to develop a standard platform with their help.  Different Districts use different platforms and that is often driven by the fact that their members are all using different platforms.

AECCafe Voice: How much do you utilize open source solutions?

Dave Low: Because we do not have a standard platform currently, we are not using an open source solution.

AECCafe Voice: What kinds of rules govern the 2030 Districts Network?

Dave Low: The Network is governed by a Board and has a set of by-laws spelling out its governance.  Each District signs a charter with the Network agreeing to work towards the common goals of resource reduction in their local city.

 “We understood the power of creating a District model to address resource conservation in cities. It has been gratifying to see the market signal that this is the right way to create change in the industry.”
– Edward Mazria, Founder and CEO of Architecture 2030 and member of the new 2030 Districts Network Board

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