EcoDistrict Presentation: Investigating New Business Models to Make Cities Smarter and More Successful


ECODISTRICT PRESENTATION SEPTEMBER 5, 2012 | 1:30 – 2:30 PM Investigating New Business Models to Make Cities Smarter and More SuccessfulTom Osdoba will discuss how district-scale frameworks can help cities to increase and accelerate innovation toward more sustainable outcomes, and how this approach fosters local business development, engages the community and helps organize capital for needed community investments. The need for greater urban innovation presents significant challenges to cities, and their success will be influenced by the business models used to deliver critical urban ‘eco-system’ services, such energy, water, food, shelter and mobility. Innovation requires rapid idea creation, testing and deployment, and this emphasis creates serious implications for how cities must operate in the future. The challenges encompass governance and structure, civic culture and staff expertise, public engagement, and finance. The corresponding opportunity of this shift is to help cities embrace greater innovation in ways that will help align project scale with capital financing platforms, and to do so with business models that enable neighborhoods to build wealth. This talk will investigate emerging new business models in order to help attendees think about how to ‘build a better mousetrap’ for making cities smarter and more successful.

Trent Berry

Tom Osdoba
Principal, TAO Strategies

Tom Osdoba has held leadership roles in two of North America’s leading cities on sustainability. As sustainable economic development manager for Portland, he created a framework and business development strategies to build a sustainable regional economy. Key areas include clean, renewable energy, green building design and construction, and regional food production. He led efforts to launch the Portland Sustainability Institute and Clean Energy Works Oregon and served as the Managing Director for University of Oregon’s Center for Sustainable Business, which seeks to create future sustainable business leaders focused on the leading edge of innovation in business and sustainability. As sustainability director for Vancouver, BC, Tom led initiatives for climate protection and sustainable development, creating a neighborhood-scale clean energy system and community engagement strategy on energy and climate change. He also led efforts to create the Canada Carbon Trust, a collaborative, business initiative to accelerate investments to reduce carbon emissions.


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