central area Ecodistrict VISION

The Central Area Collaborative is using the Eco-District Model as a means of building a resilient and sustainable city from the neighborhood up. Our neighborhood with its unique cultural and artistic flavors looks to achieve more than the standard three imperatives of  Equity, Resilience and Climate Protection. The Central Area Collaborative looks to include additional imperatives of Economic Development and Culture. We will use these five imperatives to help shape and document the progress the community is making  to achieve equity, resilience, climate protection, economic development and cultural preservation within Seattle’s traditional redlined border, encompassing the legacy of the African American population, known as the Central Area and its many individual neighborhoods.

Why the ecodistrict protocol?

  • It’s a tool for fostering neighborhood and district scale sustainability
  • It requires a rigorous certification standard

We realize that we must find a way to highlight and track all of the successes we are creating. From AfricaTown’s initiative to create a Land Trust model, leading to the Liberty Bank Building efforts, to the 23rd Avenue ACT, the Central Area Collaborative, the Central Area Land Use Review Committee, the Historic Central Area Arts & Cultural District and the African American Veterans of Washington coming together to create a coalition that not only helped produce Central Area Design Guidelines but also facilitated the City’s creation of  a new Design Review Board for developments within our neighborhood. This model allows at a neighborhood/district scale the ability to not only declare what our goals can be…but a systemic method to track our progress and report it to the community.

The Central area imperatives


EQUITY – Cities that embrace equity identify and acknowledge the communities most vulnerable to change. These cities experience stronger and longer-lasting growth. The Collaborative looks to ensure the community has the opportunity to meaningfully participate, lead, and thrive.

RESILIENCE – Resilience is the capacity of cities to function so that all people are able to withstand the shocks and stresses they encounter. The Collaborative looks to address resilience with a broad lens that prepares for social, economic and environmental shocks and stresses within our neighborhoods.

CLIMATE PROTECTION  Cities are responsible for a majority of global carbon dioxide emissions, the dominant greenhouse gas contributing to climate change. The Collaborative is building a pathway to carbon neutrality by promoting environmental systems and changes in how we think about the environment.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT – Based upon the neighborhood agreed upon tenets established during the development of the 2015 – 2018 Commercial Revitalization Plan, the Collaborative looks to prioritize the opportunities of inclusion for African Americans within all levels of the spectrum from property ownership, business technical assistance and funding.

CULTURE – Ensure that all developments and growth within the Central Area maintain the sense of African American culture and contributions to the City of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. To ensure cultural place and space making are at the forefront of change.

What we are  working

It is not easy attempting to work an EcoDistrict framework while still figuring out organizational structure, capacity and engagement. However, the Collaborative manages to engage with several City of Seattle Departments in an effort to promote both our collaborative form of management and our EcoDistrict management framework. We are skilled at leveraging  opportunities as they present themselves. Currently, we are leveraging the Office of Economic Developments association with 501 Commons to facilitate transition from Leadership Committee to Board of Directors

Additionally we seek projects and activities taking place within the central area that we can tie to success in our Imperatives

Working with Portland Energy Conservation, Inc (PECI) to create a framework that allows the ability to see in real time, the electricity (energy) use by the structures (assets) within the neighborhood. Our first step is to bring together the stakeholders that will allow that to happen. Our goal is to be able to map how much energy is being used…and determine ways to not only lower the carbon footprint but to strive for net zero effects in energy consumption.

Working with King County in a variety of projects. Hopefully, our first collaboration will allow us to take advantage of the Rainwise Program and transform Byrd Barr Place. We hope to not only capture the storm water/rain water run off but put it to effective use in maintaining the plants, trees and other environmental enablers.