Boston’s TNT Eco-Innovation District Commits to Groundbreaking Standard for Community Development – Commitment to Equity, Sustainability
The TNT Eco-Innovation District just became one of the first communities in the world to commit to a landmark new standard for community development that makes equity and sustainability fundamental requirements. By embracing the new standard – EcoDistricts Certified – TNT Eco-Innovation District joins communities in other leading cities across North America in becoming the first certified EcoDistricts.
According to Gail Latimore Executive Director of the Codman Square NDC, “Participating as a Certified Eco-District will give us a chance to see the scope and scale of urban regeneration projects across the country in cities like Denver, Atlanta and Pittsburgh. It’s good to know that there are folks experiencing challenges like ours and to see how they and their communities are addressing them.” She added, “Branding us together as Certified EcoDistricts gives us a sense of common purpose and shared knowledge, useful tools as we work to secure land and create green homes for Boston’s most vulnerable populations, using equity as a key lens through which we do our work.”
“The main objective of all of our work in the Eco-Innovation District is to make sure we serve the residents of the area in a positive way, promoting stability, opportunity, health, and skill enhancement to empower them to improve their lives, and helping enable them to remain in place in the face of Boston’s ongoing displacement and gentrification,” said David Queeley, Director of Eco Innovation for Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation.
The Talbot-Norfolk Triangle Eco-Innovation District (TNT EID) is a comprehensive sustainable development initiative spanning 13 blocks of Codman Square, a historic area in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, MA. Codman Square boasts a long history as one of Boston’s major civic centers and is host to a wealth of historic buildings including schools, churches and public facilities dating as far back as the early 19th century. However, the district has historically been underserved and economically disadvantaged, with an increasing number of abandoned commercial buildings and unsafe, deteriorating residential housing stock.
The Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corp. (CSNDC), a place-based organizing entity, was formed 35 years ago. In 2009, the community began an extensive, community-based, area-wide planning process called Millennium 10. This work engaged over 1,000 residents in a comprehensive effort to create bold environmental, economic and social equity goals in the Talbot Norfolk Triangle. Partially fueled by a new transit corridor, the Fairmont Commuter Rail Line, in 2012 the neighborhood coalesced around a grassroots commitment to sustainable redevelopment without displacement and a focus on job creation, transit-oriented growth and neighborhood revitalization. The effort spurred the creation of the Codman Square Eco-Innovation District.
The TNT EID marries green, transit-oriented development (TOD), renewable energy, water conservation, alternative energy, sustainable food systems, and climate preparedness through social and environmental resilience. This neighborhood-led, first-of-its-kind project in the City of Boston is working in a 13 block section of Codman Square with 1500 residents––the Talbot Norfolk Triangle––using sustainability as a lens through which neighborhood improvements occur.
The Eco-Innovation District’s goals include:
- Retrofit at least 50% of existing housing with new insulation, saving residents money.
- Support local businesses in saving money by helping them to participate in energy efficiency programs.
- Build at least two new highly energy efficient, Transit-Oriented Developments (TOD), at least one of which is mixed-use.
- Explore local power generation models like community-shared solar that serve residents
- Construct and program new green spaces, such as urban agriculture sites.
- Develop resident support for increased sustainability.
- Achieve at least LEED-ND Gold certification.
The TNT EID is the first Eco-District in the City of Boston, and was formed specifically to address both sustainability and economic prosperity through a holistic urban regeneration process. The TNT EID implements projects that result in improved resident health and safety, energy and related cost savings, positive, measureable positive impacts on climate change, increased food security, and local job creation.
“We created EcoDistricts Certified to transform the market. The planet and our most vulnerable can’t wait for another generation,” said Rob Bennett, CEO, EcoDistricts. “We’re spending billions of dollars in cities today and we need to get it right. This new standard is where an upfront investment in following a rigorous development framework yields exponential returns: Leaders get organized, projects happen faster, opportunities grow, people stay where they live, and others move there.”
EcoDistricts Certified is a cutting-edge, holistic, and rigorous framework for organizing and achieving important public policy, sustainability, and investment goals. The result of seven years of research and industry engagement, EcoDistricts Certified projects 1) commit to equity, resilience and climate protection at the heart of every decision; 2) form collaborative governance that reflects community stakeholders; 3) create an implementation roadmap to guide projects and programs; and 4) track and measure impact over time. Each step is submitted to EcoDistricts’ 3rd-party verifiers to ensure transparency and accountability.