Understanding EcoDistricts | U.S. Green Building Council
Please upgrade your browser. This site requires a newer version to work correctly. Read more


Need help? Contact education@usgbc.org 97 completions

Understanding EcoDistricts

GBCI: 0920010712

This lesson is intended to identify practices and considerations for neighborhood-based sustainability issues, through the concept called EcoDistricts.
Eligible for 0.5 CE HOURS.
  • 0.5 CE

Published on: November 14, 2016

Average: 3.1 (16 votes)


This lesson is intended to identify practices and considerations for neighborhood-based sustainability issues, through the concept called EcoDistricts. While much of the lesson focuses on the concepts that define EcoDistricts and neighborhood scale sustainability challenges, the lesson will also introduce models and frameworks such as the EcoDistricts Protocol as a guideline for EcoDistrict development.

For instructors interested in using this course content we recommend starting with the Instructor Guide available in the Additional Resources section on the right.

To earn GBCI CE credit for this course:

  • Watch the video modules
  • Complete the Quiz

Additional learning materials include:

  • Podcast – An Introduction to the EcoDistricts Organization
  • Podcast – Making the Social Case for EcoDistricts
  • Activity – EcoDistrict Project Proposal
  • Case Study – The Lloyd EcoDistrict
  • Discussion Questions
  • Flash Cards – Key Terms
  • Knowledge Check – Key Term Matching
  • Additional Resources

The videos can be accessed by clicking on links below. The additional learning materials are available to download in the Additional Resources section to the right.


  1. Identify the fundamental goals and principles of what constitutes an EcoDistrict.
  2. Explain the main components of the EcoDistricts Framework.
  3. Apply basic concepts of an EcoDistrict in order to formulate a plan for a given project.
  4. Illustrate the importance of local and regional sustainability efforts in designing and implementing innovation.
  5. Identify terminology behind developing and maintaining a healthy site.
Sign in
Please sign in to access this course

Created by

U.S. Green Building Council
Washington, DC
United States
U.S. Green Building Council
Washington, DC
United States


Beth Shuck

Senior Sustainability Consultant Green Building Services, Inc.
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on LinkedIn
Education @USGBC courses are also available in the USGBC app for iOS or Android on your iPhone, iPad or Android device.
iOS App on App Store
Android app on Google Play

More Courses from this Partner


Maintaining Optimal Building Performance


Net Zero Energy


Carbon Concerns


Addressing Sustainable Sites Issues

  • of
  • 10

Total 16 commentsLeave a comment

Land Use Planner, City of Thunder Bay

good overview of neighbourhood sustainability goals

Water Resources Engineer, CH2M

The 2nd and 3rd modules were informative, but the first module seemed to have many key words without fitting them all together into one message.
The production quality and audio were good.

Director of Asset Management, First Community Housing

Interesting course and case study in Portland

Program Director, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.


Senior Consultant, Engineering Systems Inc.

Skip this course until they boost the credit to 1 full hour and fix the incorrect answers in the quiz. First two video segments were dust-dry script reads, devoid of context or expertise (not to mention enthusiasm!) Needs to be redone by an expert presenter.

Mechanical Engineer, Naval Facilities Engineering Command

interesting but at a very high level and it seemed to lack case histories of detailed results.

Senior Sustainability Consultant, DCarbon
Pro Reviewer

This course includes a very successful effort to discuss what an ecodistric is. It is always difficult for such broad contents to be analyzed in a single course and this course manages to provide a concrete understanding of what an ecodistrict is and how it can be created. In particular, the ecodistrict protocol and its imperatives, priorities and implementation phases provides a very clear generic roadmap of how to establish an ecodistrict. Furthermore, the three videos are well-structured and besides the information presented in the first two videos the third one with the professionals is quite inspiring. It is highly recommended to browse the additional resources, which may extend the time required for this course to more than half an hour. Finally, the quiz should be restructured in a way to better reflect the topics discussed in the videos.

Landscape Designer, Project Manager, Habitat Landscape Architecture

Quiz was hardest one I've taken so far. Not sure if it was the wording of the questions or how they correlate with the videos. I really enjoyed the 3rd video though. It was refreshing watching professionals talk about their work that they truly believe helps the community rather than watching a video of slides with a narrator. After the last video, I am certainly interested in learning more about EcoDistricts.

Architect, CH2M

The 3 module presentations explains very easy what are eco districts and what they're trying to achieve.


too involved to 1/2 credit asdf asdf as dfas df asdfa sdf

Project Manager, PERKINS+WILL

Great little videos to help explain Eco Districts.

Superintendent, Turner Construction Company

would be better if it showed you the questions you got wrong. So you could focus on them. Some of the multiple choices questions and answers are similar.

Gannett Fleming, Inc.

Loved the course and the concept. Test as designed does not correlate well to the presentations.

Project Director, McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.

This is an interesting subject, but the quiz SUCKS...is too TRICKY!!!

Founder/Action Oriented Visionary, Drawing Conclusions LLC
Pro Reviewer

This course present an excellent overview of Eco Districts. Providing a layering approach of broad concepts to increasing specificity, each of the three videos builds on the previous one. Leading us through the urban issues that are the focus of Eco Districts; energy, climate change, water, transportation, waste, and urbanization, it provides a three level framework from which to develop an Eco District Protocol. Broken into three imperatives, six priorities and three implementation phases, it provides substantive measures and a matrix to concretely conceptualize and realize an Eco District.

The additional materials and resources add a rich extra layer of information allowing course participants to move beyond the presentation to empowering action. One comment might be that the materials presented both for instructors and for students does not clearly identify its targeted audience. Because the very essence of Eco Districts strives to be specific acknowledging that each district is unique, accompanying educational materials should reflect the same. While the quiz is informative, it is a bit too difficult considering the course is identified as basic. Overall, a solid and extremely informative course that provides an excellent platform for understanding and potentially pursuing creating an Eco District.

Chief Architect (Semi-Retired), Formerly of US Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska District
Pro Reviewer

The first two videos are pretty uninteresting. The narrators are young ladies who are clearly reading from scripts....and it sounds like they haven't even rehearsed reading their scripts. Their verbal delivery is devoid of emotion and emphasis, and is indifferent, uninspiring, even flippant. As for the slides in the first two videos, they are simplistic and uninspiring, each consisting of a few words, a short sentence, or a short list on plain backgrounds, or nondescript views of urban areas. The "issues" to be treated under the "What is an Eco-District" topic are given as broad-based, over-arching topics (i.e., "energy", "climate change", "water", "waste", "transportation", "urbanization"), without much specificity as to what it is about these broad categories that should be paid attention to.

The last video, on the other hand, is an interesting pair of interviews with two specialists, who have dealt with Eco-Districts. These two people are informed, articulate and experienced. Their enthusiasm is infectious. Somehow, while discussing their topic ("The South Waterfront Neighborhood in Portland, Oregon"), they also manage to convey the essence of the subjects so sluggishly treated by the first two videos (i.e.,."What is an Eco-District", and "Eco Districts in Action").

BTW, considering the broadscope terms and approach to this course, the multiple answers demanded by the Quiz were challenging. I could not recall reading the subject matter for many of the Quiz questions.

These three videos have the potential to comprise a great total learning session, but first, videos #1 and #2 have to be redeveloped, so as to match the vitality and interest of video #3. The 3-star rating I'm giving this total session is not a put-down; it just means the total impact of the session is "pretty-good and sufficient", but is not what I would call "great and memorable" like a 4-star session, or what I would call "outstanding and inspiring", like a 5-star session.

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Leave a comment Don't have an account? Create one

You must be signed in to leave a comment.