Sustainable Atlanta EcoDistricts Initiative

Atlanta, Georgia

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IMPETUS: Three distinctly different Atlanta area communities partnered with the Sustainable Atlanta non-profit and facilitators from SERA Architects to conduct a Civic Ecology training workshop aimed at helping these neighborhoods build community capacity for self-driven change.

DESCRIPTION: Sustainable Atlanta was formed to help manage partnerships between the City, institutions, nonprofits, and the greater Atlanta community to help advance sustainability throughout the region. One aspect of this partnership is exploring EcoDistricts as a model for developing sustainable practices from the household to the neighborhood scale, where both significant advances in sustainability can be made and serve to benefit people as a whole.

PROCESS: In February and March 2014, SERA partnered with Sustainable Atlanta to conduct an online briefing and a day-long in-person training workshop to introduce stakeholders from the partnering Atlanta neighborhoods of Lakewood Heights, and Atlanta University Center and the suburban city of Lithonia to the Civic Ecology framework, which is designed to help people formulate and plan the implementation of sustainability projects.

sustainableatl_workshop_1mar2014_14During the workshop, each of the groups succeeded in not only understanding the basics of the Civic Ecology approach but in pushing the technique beyond to truly explore unique, innovative projects and program ideas to bring neighborhood-based sustainability to their communities. Every participant in the workshop had a chance to make contributions to the groups and voice strong opinions about what would work in their home communities.

NEXT STEPS: The three neighborhoods made notable progress in identifying opportunities during the workshops and some community partnerships were discussed. Momentum in these three communities has somewhat stalled, however, following the dissolution of Sustainable Atlanta, the regional non-profit that sponsored the training programs.