News Brief

EcoDistricts Merges with Equity Group to Promote “Just Growth”

EcoDistricts, which encourages neighborhood-scale sustainability, was acquired by the Partnership for Southern Equity.

 The Seaholm EcoDistrict in Austin, Texas

The Seaholm EcoDistrict in Austin, Texas.

Photo: Michael Barera. License: CC BY-SA 4.0.
The EcoDistricts Protocol, initially published in 2016, was one of the first green building frameworks to put social justice on par with other sustainability concerns, and it seeks to bring the equity imperative to the conversation at the neighborhood scale. Now EcoDistricts is working with another nonprofit, the Partnership for Southern Equity (PSE), to make that imperative central.

Acquired by PSE in December 2021, EcoDistricts will help the organization expand its Just Growth program, which focuses on building “community power to drive systematic change in urban planning, real estate development, and anti-displacement public policies” in the American South, according to a press release. A planned year-long process will help the newly merged organizations “combine programming, local power building, and fee-for-service consulting opportunities.”

The EcoDistricts Protocol will be preserved and further developed by the new organization. “It is long overdue for an organization led by people of color to develop national sustainable development standards that have a significant impact on the quality of life for Black and Brown communities,” wrote PSE’s Suzanne Burnes and EcoDistricts’ former executive director Rob Bennett in a joint statement to BuildingGreen. They continued, “The urban planning, design, and development industry must move more effectively in embracing racial equity as core to the industry.”

The region served by PSE is central to this effort not only because of “its fast-growing cities and communities,” Burnes and Bennett noted, but also because “the South bears the greatest inequities in the country through the legacy of structural racism in land-use policy and practice that in many ways remains intact today.”

The work will not be confined that that region, however, in cases where communities of color in other parts of the country and world can benefit from PSE’s efforts, the pair said.

More on community-scale sustainability

Community-Scale Sustainability: Accelerating Change for People and Planet

New EcoDistricts Protocol Aims for Green Building at Scale

Certified Communities: When Greening Neighborhoods One Building at a Time Isn’t Enough

For more information:

Partnership for Southern Equity

Published March 7, 2022

Melton, P. (2022, February 24). EcoDistricts Merges with Equity Group to Promote “Just Growth”. Retrieved from

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