Here is another article in our series about things going on around Rochester.
Rochester recently became the first city in Upstate New York to earn distinction as an EcoDistrict — a designation that will allow the city’s urban development leaders work to foster a green, sustainable downtown.
According to the Democrat and Chronicle, the city’s EcoDistrict encompasses a 285-acre expanse that will include the High Falls district, Frontier Field and the new Monroe Community College campus.
With its EcoDistrict designation, Rochester joins a handful of major U.S. cities including Boston, Washington, D.C. and Portland, Oregon.
At the heart of Rochester’s EcoDistrict plans is GardenAerial, a project that will transform the Genesee River gorge into a major tourist attraction. Additionally, residents and business owners located within the EcoDistrict will set a series of sustainability goals, such as producing no waste in a five-year period. If successful, these goals could potentially be replicated throughout the rest of the city.
“The idea is that we create a geographical boundary that is small enough to innovate quickly but big enough to make a difference,” Michael A. Philipson, co-founder of local nonprofit Greentopia, said. “Having this designation puts us in a class of cities worldwide that are really at the forefront of moving their sustainability and resiliency goals to the top of the list.”
Rochester’s move to set up an EcoDistrict comes just as New York State ranked as the third most environmentally friendly state on a national ranking. New York also currently boasts the lowest gas consumption per capita and has the highest percentage of people who don’t drive to work, according to the Rochester Business Journal.
Luckily, Rochester residents don’t have to live within the boundaries of the EcoDistrict to start adopting more sustainable and eco-friendly habits. Simply replacing your home’s leaky faucets and shower heads can save as much as 20,000 gallons of water each year.
And ultimately, Philipson stated that EcoDistrict is a concept that relies on collaboration and integration of different ideas to help develop successful sustainable practices. By establishing an EcoDistrict, Rochester is working toward shaping a new identity for itself.
“We think Rochester can catch up to some of the more progressive cities already realizing the benefits of creating sustainable neighborhoods and communities,” Philipson said. “We’ve joined a very elite group.”