What is Millvale Ecodistrict?

In 2012, with the development of the Millvale Ecodistrict Pivot 1.0 Plan, the community came together to tackle three key issue areas —Food because of their status as a food desert, Water due to a frequent history of damaging floods, and Energy due the health and economic benefits.  Three years later, the community had been hard at work collaborating both internally as well as with regional partners and making significant progress on the community’s goals.

Community gathering to form Millvale’s Pivot 2.0 Plan

With over 70% of the goals from the first iteration of their plan complete, the community turned its attention to the future by kicking off Millvale Ecodistrict Pivot 2.0 planning activities. Expanding its focus to Air because of the poor air quality in Allegheny County, Mobility due to lack of infrastructure for multimodal transportation, and Equity which ties the other quality of life priorities together to ensure fairness in access to these quality of life resources.  

On October 26th, 2015, over 80 residents and community stakeholders came together to Imagine Millvale.  Through the Millvale Ecodistrict Pivot 2 Plan, the community created the following vision statements which guide development activities:

Emerald Evening 2017 Inspiration Award: Millvale EcoDistrict brief overview of the EcoDistrict Pivot Plan and why it is important.

evolveEA is a nimble multi-disciplinary practice situated at the intersection of sustainability and the built environment. The community launched the Millvale Ecodistrict planning process in 2012, and evolveEA has been proud to facilitate Ecodistrict training and design projects with the community since the beginning. The trainings have helped build the community’s capacity to catalyze renewal by introducing residents to Ecodistrict concepts, contextualizing current community efforts, and by asking residents to envision how Ecodistrict principles might be applied in future planning projects.
In collaboration with residents and council people in Millvale, evolveEA has helped the community identify and understand critical information about Ecodistricts so that they could become advocates for future decisions. Their work has created a collaborative vision, identified actionable projects, and strengthened community champions to see them to fruition. This has also has leveraged access to grants for continued planning and for project implementation.
Ecodistricts are communities that are embedded in a holistic model of sustainable planning at the neighborhood scale that empowers people to take ownership over their individual and collective futures. You might see varying forms of capitalization when exploring the idea of an ecodistrict in your community.

This is intentional, and they each have their own meaning:

  • “ecodistrict” refers to the concept in the field of urban planning that integrates ecologically-sound practices with sustainable community development.
  • “Ecodistrict” refers to a specific community that is engaged in developing an ecodistrict.
  • “EcoDistricts” refers to the parent organization that formulated and published the official Protocol and oversees a certification process. They are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Portland, Oregon.

Read more in this Ecodistricts 101 resource guide