County planners might recommend making part of downtown Bethesda an ecodistrict.

What does that mean?

Find out Wednesday, June 18 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., when the Planning Department hosts a community workshop on the ecodistrict concept as part of its Bethesda Downtown Plan outreach.

Ecodistricts are an emerging planning concept that involve reusing water, capturing waste and prioritizing sustainable building design. The idea is that planning more sustainable and more environmentally friendly development at a neighborhood scale — rather than project-by-project — will net better results.

What precisely that will bring to downtown Bethesda isn’t yet clear. You can learn more about the broad strokes with this presentation from county planners.

Ecodistricts take on a variety of characteristics.


In January 2013, the National Capital Planning Commission approved a plan that provides the framework for an ecodistrict in the 15-block area of mostly federal office buildings located just south of the National Mall.

Over a 20-year period, the NCPC hopes the plan will result in most  of the area’s energy, water, and waste being captured, managed, and then reused. Greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by 51 percent, even with the potential addition of four million square feet of development.

Potable water consumption would be reduced by 70 percent, all stormwater will be managed and 80 percent of waste could be diverted from landfills.


Portland, Ore. has five designated ecodistricts that were initially cared for and maintained by a city-created nonprofit, before control was ceded back to the city.

The workshop is set for 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center (4805 Edgemoor Lane).