This fall, Highland Planning organized and staffed an EcoDistrict Launch event with our partners at Greentopia to celebrate the completion of the EcoDistrict Plan. The event marked the start of the project moving from planning to implementation. The NYSERDA-funded EcoDistrict Master Plan will provide a framework for the High Falls Neighborhood to move towards ambitious environmental and social justice goals. It was one of my favorite projects that I have worked on to date at Highland Planning. It is great to see the EcoDistrict moving forward.
We advertised the event using digital engagement on Facebook. Using our organic-reach-focused strategy, we reached over 20,000 people and interacted with over 1,500 people. We also used a Facebook event to connect with vendors, non-profits, and volunteers who were interested in being involved in the project. Some event participants, like the wedding party that jumped in on a game of four square, happened to be in High Falls on the afternoon of Saturday, October 7th.
The Launch Project, the first of many events in the EcoDistrict, initiated one project in particular, the revitalization of a greenspace beside the Genesee River gorge which is envisioned to become a part of an “EcoLoop” walking trail. A herd of goats were brought in to clear out the invasive brush along the trail, fossil-fuel-free, in preparation for the human volunteers. On the morning of the event, about 20 volunteers gathered in the EcoDistrict to clean, weed, and plant along the trail.
Part of our event was live streamed on Facebook Live, drawing over 125 more views. By taking a non-traditional approach to a public meeting format, Highland Planning and Greentopia were able to engage a much larger part of the community in a much more meaningful way. This robust and varied engagement sets the stage for a very successful implementation of their EcoDistrict Plan.