The District of Columbia joined an elite group of North American cities committed to becoming a global exemplar of sustainability through neighborhood-scale projects that emphasize environmental performance, social equity and economic growth. EcoDistricts, the Portland, Oregon based nonprofit behind the Target Cities Program, announced the new partnership today at CGI America, a program of the Clinton Global Initiative. Three Washington-based Target Cities projects are currently underway in Southwest, Downtown and St. Elizabeths-Congress Heights.
Target Cities, a two-year partnership of seven development projects across five North American cities – Boston, Cambridge, Denver, Los Angeles, and the District of Columbia – is designed to amplify and accelerate district-scale community regeneration and create replicable models for next-generation urban revitalization. “If we are to meet our ambitious goal of becoming the healthiest, greenest and most livable city in the United States, we must incorporate innovation in everything we do”, says Mayor Vincent C. Gray. “Our city’s emerging EcoDistricts will play a critical role in shaping the District’s future through innovative partnerships with local and federal governments, businesses and institutions and neighborhoods citywide.”
The Department of General Services (DGS) will play an integral role in the program’s success with the agency’s combined responsibilities for nearly 26 million square feet of city property and its Energy and Sustainability division, which oversees the District’s efforts to create one of the most efficient and sustainable portfolios of real estate in the United States. “Our agency continues to innovate by participating in relationships with expert partners in the sustainability field with whom we can continue to elevate the quality of life for residents in the District today, and for years to come,” said DGS Director Brian J. Hanlon.
With its untapped potential as a transformative environment advancing global innovation, the development of St Elizabeths East will exemplify the District of Columbia’s longstanding commitment to sustainable development and living.
On February 20, 2013, Mayor Gray announced the Sustainable DC Plan to ensure the District is the healthiest, greenest, and most livable city in the nation. The Mayor released the plan during an event at the Earth Conservation Corps Pump House at Diamond Teague Park on the Anacostia River. There, he was joined by more than 100 people, including members of his Green Cabinet and Green Ribbon Committee, in support of the effort.
The plan builds on the past 20 months of the Sustainable DC initiative’s work and takes a comprehensive approach to addressing four key challenges: creating jobs and growing the District’s economy; improving the health and wellness of residents; ensuring equity and diversity across the city; and improving the climate and the environment. The plan encompasses 32 goals and 31 targets, and offers 143 specific actions in the areas of the built environment, energy, food, nature, transportation, waste and water.
The future development will answer Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s Vision for a Sustainable DC to become a model for sustainable design, development, and building nationwide. An important milestone in the Mayor’s Sustainable DC initiative, the Vision promotes improvements in the District’s built environment, climate, energy, food, nature, transportation, waste, water, and the green economy, while also focusing on cross-cutting issues of jobs and health.
The Sustainable DC initiative will develop and implement a strategy to:
- Broaden and diversify the District’s economy and the range of available employment and business opportunities for residents,
- Reduce disparities related to income, health, employment and education across the city; and
- Ensure a high quality of life and a clean environment for our residents, workers, and visitors.
Following the start of the Sustainable DC initiative, Mayor Gray took quick action to develop the plan and take the first steps to making the city more sustainable. In November 2011, Mayor Gray launched nine different public working groups that examined best practices, existing conditions, and public comments in order to develop key recommendations for the District’s first sustainability plan. More than 700 people participated in the working groups by prioritizing innovative city goals and creating ambitious visions of what the District needs to do over the next 20 years to be sustainable.
With aggressive, actionable goals that are nation-leading and benchmarked against other U.S. cities, the resulting Vision for a Sustainable DC includes a series of “down payments” toward the full sustainability plan, including many current commitments that will have a direct impact on the neighborhoods nearest St Elizabeths East:
- High-efficiency streetlamps
- Expansion of the Capital Bikeshare
- Completion of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail.
In 2012 Washington, DC topped the U.S. Green Building Council list of the top 10 states for LEED-certified commercial and institutional green buildings per capita, based on the U.S. 2010 Census.