In 2011, Tompkins County, in a unique partnership with EcoVillage at Ithaca’s Center for Sustainability Education, was awarded a federal grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to fund innovative on-the-ground approaches to creating dense neighborhoods that enhance residents’ quality of life while using fewer resources. The project is part of the EPA Climate Showcase Communities Program described in the video below.
The grant focuses on documenting the lessons learned from twenty years of developing the award-winning EcoVillage at Ithaca, and applying those lessons to new residential development in a variety of settings. It offers a remarkable opportunity to translate innovative, successful methods of green building, mixed land use planning, and community development to more mainstream settings.
The project aims to reach several target audiences (developers, municipal officials, general public) with its message that extremely energy efficient, pedestrian-oriented development that can use up to 80% less energy and generate up to 80% fewer greenhouse gas emissions is technologically and economically feasible and can offer an enhanced quality of life to residents.
Liz Walker – As the co-founder of EcoVillage at Ithaca, and Executive Director of its associated non-profit, EVI-Center for Sustainability Education, Liz Walker has dedicated her full-time work to bring this internationally acclaimed project from vision to reality since 1991. Her two books, EcoVillage at Ithaca: Pioneering a Sustainable Culture, and Choosing a Sustainable Future: Ideas and Inspiration from Ithaca, New York, have helped to introduce the concepts of EcoVillages and sustainable communities to a broad audience in the U.S. and other countries.
Ed Marx – With 25 years of experience directing County Planning and Public Works Departments in New York State, Ed has led dozens of successful projects including restoration and preservation of environmentally sensitive lands, enhancing urban waterfronts, creating multi-use trails, multi-jurisdictional land use, transportation and recreation plans, and installation of solar energy systems on municipal buildings. In his current position as Commissioner of Planning for Tompkins County he has spearheaded the adoption and implementation of the first County Comprehensive Plan.
Katie Borgella – As Principal Planner with the Tompkins County Planning Department for the past 20 years, Katie has been able to work on a wide range of planning issues, ranging from natural resource conservation to community development and, most recently, to energy and greenhouse gas emissions reduction.
Rob Morache – Founder and owner of New Earth Strategies, a design and development planning firm, Rob Morache brings 2 decades of experience in the architecture, housing and development sectors to the process of community design and sustainability planning. Rob is the designer of the Aurora Pocket Neighborhood, an infill project in the City of Ithaca.
Susan Cosentini – Sue has over twenty-five years’ experience in the building trades, and is co-founder of the Aurora Pocket Neighborhood. Her company Cosentini Construction has built or remodeled over 500 homes in the area and has been awarded the Big50 award by Remodeling magazine. She is a regular speaker at industry conferences and has written articles for national trade magazines and guest lectured at Cornell University.
Linda Copman – Linda has been working on food, energy, water, and environmental sustainability initiatives on Hawaii Island for the past decade. Linda is currently serving as Project Assistant for the Welcome Home Project.
Steering Committee Members
Mina Amundsen, Cornell University Planner
Peter Bardaglio, founder, Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative
Dan Cogan, Principal Engineer Taitem Engineers
JoAnn Cornish, City of Ithaca Director of Planning
Bill Goodman, Town of Ithaca Deputy Town Supervisor
David Kay, Community and Rural Development, Cornell University
Scott Reynolds, Director of Development Ithaca Neighborhood Housing
Susan Ritter, Town of Ithaca Director of Planning
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