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GlobalPDX Lunch & Learn: Civic Ecology: A Framework for Sustainable Community Development

04/11/2023 @ 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm


This presentation will describe Civic Ecology — a stakeholder-driven, whole-systems framework for sustainable community planning — developed by SERA Architects in Portland, Oregon. The framework focuses on empowering citizens of all ages, cultures, and abilities to envision, create, and manage their community’s unique “software” – the integrated energy, nutrient, water, waste, material, and food systems, as well as economic flows and cultural interactions, that animate their place.

Exploring and supporting these flows allows communities to enhance their local wealth (environmental, economic, and social), resilience, and competitiveness, and helps them take control of designing and managing their future through collaboration and innovation. The framework is an ideal tool for cities, neighborhoods and institutions seeking to regenerate neighborhood social capital, local economics, physical fabric and infrastructure.

The presentation will describe the principles and community benefits of the Civic Ecology planning framework, the five-step CIVIC process central to its implementation and Community Flow Mapping, a process created to engage citizens in the co-creation of localized resilient community systems. The presentation will touch on examples of Civic Ecology applications in a variety of community settings. 

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Presenter: Timothy W. Smith, FAICP, AIA

Tim Smith is Principal and founder of the Urban Design and Planning Studio at SERA Architects, a Portland, Oregon firm that offers integrated services in architecture, urban design, planning, and sustainability consulting. Tim is passionate about the art and science of placemaking, and his work is aimed at creating whole and beautiful places that enrich the human experience and integrate nature at the aesthetic and systemic levels. His work spans a variety of scales, from the site, block and neighborhood to the community, campus, city and region. Currently he is engaged in long-range framework planning for the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) and leads SERA’s resilience planning efforts.


1:30 pm - 2:30 pm
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Lewis & Clark College
615 S Palatine Hill Rd
Portland, OR United States
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