Ask the Expert: Adam Beck, Program Director at EcoDistricts

Adam Beck, Program Director at EcoDistricts is known for his ability to engage and align multiple stakeholders and develop the necessary frameworks to guide the implementation of sustainability strategies. Adam has over 17 years of experience in environmental and social planning, with a passion for developing and implementing sustainability tools for built environment projects. Read more about Adam.

 


Adam Beck

Adam Beck, Program Director at EcoDistricts, has over 17 years of experience in environmental and social planning, with a passion for developing and implementing sustainability tools for built environment projects. Prior to joining EcoDistricts in 2013, Adam spent over three years with the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) developing the Green Star – Communities rating tool in collaboration with government and industry. This work is highly respected globally, being one of few rating tools that covers the full spectrum of sustainability issues across the built environment.

Adam is delivering a one day EcoDistricts workshop in Calgary on November 18. For more information about EcoDistricts or this one-day course, contact CaGBC Education. Click here to register.

We spoke with Adam about the upcoming EcoDistricts workshop and how he supports urban leaders as they navigate the challenges of executing district-scale sustainability projects.

1. Tell us about your professional background.

I am trained as an environmental and social planner, and I have spent most of my career in Australia helping developers reduce their environmental footprint, while enhancing the social and economic aspects of their projects. I work on urban development and transport infrastructure projects, from sea and airports, to small infill residential developments. My work specializes in the development of sustainability assessment models, frameworks and tools, as well as complex stakeholder engagement projects.

2. Can you explain the Green Star - Communities rating tool?

While at the Green Building Council of Australia, I had the amazing opportunity to work with government and industry to develop a best practice national standard for the planning, design and construction of community development projects. To date, it is the most fulfilling project of my career. We had the opportunity to bring the private and public sector together at a national level for the first time to define best practice sustainable urban development. The Green Star – Communities rating tool now provides an independent, transparent and market-led rating system to reward projects for different levels of sustainability performance.

3. What is your role at EcoDistricts?

As Program Director at EcoDistricts, I have the responsibility to develop a next generation process management tool for the delivery of district-scale urban development projects. I will also be managing our Target Cities program, which provides support to urban leaders across North America, and beyond, to navigate the challenges of executing district-scale sustainability projects through peer-to-peer learning, provision of case studies and guidance through the EcoDistricts Framework and suite of toolkits.

4. Why is this approach to sustainable communities so important, in your opinion?

The community, neighbourhood and district-scale provides the opportunity to accelerate sustainable development outcomes and innovation, often more rapidly than at an individual building level or citywide level. The district-scale allows greater economies of scale and opportunities to build ongoing support from local communities. At EcoDistricts, we call this scale the 'sustainability sweet spot'.

5. What can those attending the upcoming EcoDistricts workshops in Canada hope to learn from you and this course?

Learning from others, from their practical experiences can be the best form of capacity building.  The EcoDistricts training allows us to share more than four years of piloting this concept on real projects, the tools used and the outcomes achieved. This experience has allowed us to identify and define an improved approach, which we have converted into practical activities that help participants understand the EcoDistricts way of delivering district-scale sustainability projects.

6. Any good examples of sustainable communities that stand out for you as working well?

I think there are fantastic projects all over the world that represent sustainable communities that work well. However, one of my favourites is the South False Creek Olympic Village in Vancouver, BC.

7. Where do you think the future of the green building industry as a whole is headed?

It's headed into a very bright future. It has, and continues to transform our built environment for the better. We are creating great places, productive buildings and an innovative supply chain that generates green jobs. The green building industry's success will continue to build because of one key factor – a willingness to collaborate and partner.


For more information about EcoDistricts or this one-day course, contact CaGBC Education. Click here to register for the Calgary event.