History of the Initiative

Where It All Began

The Upper Peninsula Initiative was formed to promote thoughtful design with the community in mind.

Charleston's Upper Peninsula

Charleston’s Upper Peninsula is transitioning from its heavy industrial and commercial roots to modern workplaces, retail, restaurants and dense housing.  It is a place where locals go to live, work and play because of its unique character, corridor of high-tech businesses, and local flavor.

As a destination city that continually ranks in the top 10 in everything from “Top City in U.S. and Canada” (Travel and Leisure) to “Best Places to Retire” (Forbes) to “Most Exciting Mid-Sized Cities” (Movato Real Estate), the City of Charleston and Charleston region are experiencing tremendous growth. The Upper Peninsula area was chosen for this initiative because it presents an obvious location and opportunity for future growth and denser development to occur. Those that are already living, working and playing in the Upper Peninsula know what everyone else is realizing – that this section of the City is poised for something special.

The Upper Peninsula Initiative is an opportunity to pilot a new planning framework called EcoDistricts that encourages participation and commitments from residents, businesses, nonprofits and government in order to thoughtfully weave together community assets with creative ideas and innovative projects to build a strong sense of place and vibrant, lasting community.

History of the Initiative

The Sustainability Institute and City of Charleston partnered in early 2013 to submit a competitive project proposal to EcoDistricts for its EcoDistricts Incubator, a 3 day intensive workshop in Portland, OR designed to train city and development leaders from 8 selected cities in utilizing the EcoDistricts planning framework as a planning process to mold the neighborhoods of the future. Cities applied to the competitive opportunity with their own plan for an innovative pilot initiative in their city. Charleston’s application was selected and in May of 2013, a project team from Charleston joined other urban development practitioners for an opportunity to be trained by experts and to experience successful EcoDistrict initiatives first hand.

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.”

– Alan Lakein, writer