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Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation recognized for greenhouse gas reduction measures

Rominda deBarros

For more than a year, the Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation (NDC) has been working towards creating Boston’s first Eco-Innovation District, an area where resources are directed at environmentally-friendly development and reduction of carbon emissions. After being recognized this past weekend at the annual Greenovate Boston Community Summit, the NDC continues to actively work towards achieving sustainability goals within the Codman Square and Talbot Norfolk Triangle areas.

“The long term goal of our project is to ensure that our residents have a better and healthier quality of life,” said Codman Square NDC Eco-Innovation Fellow David Qweeley. “We are working on a neighborhood-scale plan that also ensures that our residents can save money on utility bills and afford to live in the neighborhood.”

The Greenovate awards, included in the annual summit, focus on several areas of interest, including energy conservation, waste reduction, green building and education, sustainable food systems and community leadership. Codman Square NDC, seen as one of the emerging leaders within their collaborative project, received an award in the Community Organization category in recognition of their holistic approach towards maintaining sustainability.

Among the program awardees were nonprofit institutions, businesses, residents and community organizations currently working towards energy goals that will reduce carbon emissions. These goals align with the Greenovate mission to reduce greenhouse gases by 25 percent by the year 2015 and to implement community preparedness around the Boston area.

The Eco-Innovation District focuses on creating a new model for green and equitable development on a district scale for the Dorchester neighborhood. With a grant from the Barr Foundation as well as support from partners such as the Talbot Norfolk Triangle Neighbors United, Natural Resources Defense Council, Boston Local Innovation Support Corporation and Enterprise Community Partners, Codman Square is moving to advance feasible sustainability goals on a neighborhood-wide basis through engagement with the community.

Codman Square NDC so far has made great strides in its district, including the development of new green spaces and two transit-oriented housing developments built next to Fairmount Line MBTA stations.

Queeley said the NDC is steadily working towards several important objectives including those in the sectors of energy retrofits, renewables, green infrastructure, efficient mixed use transit oriented projects and equity.

“The individual developments within our sustainability project are in different stages currently,” he said. “We are on track to our goal of reaching energy retrofits for 15 percent or more of the existing housing by the summer and have been working extensively towards our [transit oriented development] projects, including the building of a new station located in Whittier Place.”

In the sector of energy generation, the NDC is working to ensure that the low-income neighborhoods are given access to the tools necessary to make their energy goals possible. They are working toward a community shared solar project that will provide residents with district solar energy coming from one designated region within the neighborhood.

Among the challenges for the Eco-Innovation District have been harnessing the interest that national, state, and local partners have shown in their innovative sustainability goals, collaborating with residents and investors to realize those goals, and translating the process and results into a template that other neighborhoods can follow, according to a press release provided by the Codman Square NDC.

Codman Square staff members say the opportunity to create new ways to accomplishing sustainability on a neighborhood scale in Boston has just begun. Now supported by the Clinton Global Initiative, the Codman Square NDC will be able to work towards its neighborhood vision of a better, greener, and more sustainable quality of life for its citizens.

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