The Tompkins County Planning Department, in a unique partnership with EcoVillage at Ithaca (EVI), has been awarded a $375,450 Climate Showcase Communities grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to fund innovative approaches to creating dense neighborhoods that enhance residents quality of life while using fewer resources.
The project will focus on three different experiments in sustainable development, including construction of a third neighborhood at EVI, an internationally recognized cohousing community in Ithaca, and study of 26 acres of county-owned land as a potential location for a village-scale residential community that draws on the lessons of EVI.
The third project involves the Aurora Dwelling Circle, an urban infill development at the corner of North Aurora and Marshall streets in Ithaca. Builder Susan Cosentini and architect/planner Rob Morache run New Earth Living, the organization that will oversee the construction of the Aurora Dwelling Circle.
"I'm thrilled," said EVI Executive Director Liz Walker. "This will give us the ability to translate proven concepts of sustainable community development to a mainstream audience. We hope to reach developers, architects, planners and builders."
Ed Marx, Tompkins County Commissioner of Planning and Community Sustainability, seconded Walker's comment. "By leveraging a local success story, we can show the way for new residential development to achieve remarkable energy savings as much as 80% lower than typical development. We hope to demonstrate how similar results can be achieved as these lessons are transferred to mainstream development."
The county planning department and EVI are members of the TCCPI coalition. The original idea behind the grant proposal emerged at last June's monthly TCCPI meeting. Walker noted that if it were not for TCCPI, this collaboration may not have happened.