Best Practice Action Detail

Best Practice Action 28.4

GreenStep City Best Practices: Resilient Economic and Community Development
Business Synergies and EcoDistricts No. 28

Network/cluster businesses and design neighborhoods and developments to achieve better energy, social, economic and environmental outcomes in service of a more circular and equitable economy.  

Best Practice Action 4

Use 21st century ecodistrict tools to structure, guide and link multiple green and sustainable projects together in a mixed-use neighborhood/development, or innovation district, aiming to deliver superior social, environmental and economic outcomes.

  • Eco districts strive toward the aggressive energy, water and vehicle emissions targets called for by Architecture 2030. See the EcoDistricts Protocol, a process-based framework and certification standard that empowers equitable, resilient, sustainable neighborhoods and districts for all, placing race/equity, social inclusion issues on an equal footing with physical development project management.
  • See Sharing the Benefits of a Greening City: A Toolkit in Pursuit of Economic, Environmental, and Racial Justice (University of MN CREATE Initiative: 2019) for policy and project tools to measure and attenuate green gentrification/resident-business displacement pressures. 
  • The 21st Century Development Tool (AIA Minnesota, University of MN: 2019) defines 5 levels of performance (the highest being regenerative) across 7 performance areas (based on the national Living Community Challenge), to be used as a framework/pathway to support the efforts of all stakeholders in a proposed physical development project to create the most sustainable projects.
  • The University of MN's Minnesota Design Center helped develop the 2016 Rochester Destination Medical Center District Design Guidelines and District Sustainability Standards for the Ford Site.
  • See implementation tools for action 28.3 and model ordinances for ecodistricts/green zones.
1 star Report how the 21st Century Development Tool or the EcoDistricts Protocol was used for a development project or neighborhood (re)development. Report less-ambitious and less-holistic mixed-use projects under best practice 8, Green Zones and resilience hubs under action 29.3, and shared aspects of retail projects at transit/density nodes under action 14.2
2 star Register as an EcoDistrict; post the 21st Century performance levels planned or achieved in a development.
3 star Be certified as an EcoDistrict.

Who's doing it

Burnsville - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2009
Implementation details:
Burnsville's Heart of the City (also called HOC, or downtown zoning district)is walkable, with pedestrian friendly development, mixed uses and a mix of housing types and income levels. The City coordinated with property owners, investors, and agencies such as Dakota CDA and the Met Council to obtain a livable communities grant and develop low to moderate income housing within the HOC. The city purchased property, developed the HOC plan, amended it's Comprehensive Plan, developed HOC Design Guidelines, developed HOC zoning district standards, approved individual site development, and constructed public improvement projects.
The City built a Park and Ride in the Heart of the City that serves multiple businesses, residents, Nicollet Common's Park, and the Burnsville Performing Arts Center. This district has access to MVTA, the park and ride, and other bus transit services. Diamondhead Shopping Center in the Heart of the City was renovated and designed for reuse as the current Burnsville High School Senior Center. Burnsville applies low impact site development to all projects and requires LID agreements to be signed and made part of development agreements.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Sue Bast (City staff) | | 952-895-4524