A Note to EcoDistricts APs on Pitching EcoDistricts


by Irwin Lowenstein

EcoDistricts Program Manager, Teva Needleman, called me a few weeks ago and asked me to speak as part of the Webinar Wednesday series. I said yes without even thinking about it or even confirming the webinar topic. I know that was kind of risky. But I feel passionate about the organization and the Protocol – it has become fundamental to my work – and I was honored. So, I figured it would somehow work out. “You pick the topic, Teva; whatever you think would be helpful,” I told her; “just let me know.” Teva’s answer? “Pitching EcoDistricts.” Sure, no problem, I thought. “Been there, done that.”

Soon, I got to thinking: That’s a tall task. Wait, that’s a very tall task. But you all, my fellow APs, were signing up to get advice on pitching EcoDistricts. I couldn’t disappoint you all and, besides, I promised Teva! So, I sat down and got to work.

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Healthier Cities for All: Can We Distribute Health and Wellbeing Equitably?


by Irwin Lowenstein

There has long been a paradox at the heart of healthcare in Cleveland, Ohio. While home to some of the best medical care in the world, Cleveland’s own neighborhoods experience some of the poorest of health outcomes. Now, one of Cleveland’s “big three” healthcare titans is pursuing pacesetting innovations for the health and wellbeing of communities of working people at the margins and communities of color beginning in its own backyard. And the EcoDistricts Protocol is playing a vitally important role in the innovation and transformation.

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ReFresh of ReThink


by Irwin Lowenstein

Ten years after launching ReThink Advisors, I knew it was time for a refresh. This website, along with new marketing materials and updated branding, announce a new phase of this decade-long journey that began by consulting and collaborating with Case Western Reserve University.

Serving as the University Architect – which is still ongoing – has provided ReThink Advisors the opportunity to collaborate with an important anchor institution to conceive, guide and execute numerous projects, from a comprehensive Campus Master Plan to the Health Education Campus in partnership with Cleveland Clinic, which is now taking shape. All of this work can be found under the projects tab.

Perhaps most important for me both personally and professionally has been coming to understand and getting deeply engaged with the EcoDistricts Protocol. This emerging approach to planning leverages major urban regeneration projects to achieve equitable growth. It is based on peer-reviewed research that has established a critical finding: community resilience is fundamentally an issue of social cohesion, which is impacted as much by economic opportunity and wellness as it is by the built environment.

To this end, I am excited to also be working with MetroHealth Systems, which has embarked on an ambitious $1 billion campus transformation plan, the largest self-funded county hospital project in the history of the United States. This transformative project will become the first hospital-led EcoDistrict planning process in the country, going beyond traditional development to create a new model for how a major anchor institution can improve the health, vibrancy and resilience of the surrounding neighborhoods. The data-driven Eco-District Protocol will guide resources where they are most impactful through a focused community engagement process.

Many more new and exciting projects are in the works, which I will be updating here regularly. In the meantime, please click through the website and let me know what you think.