The EcoCompass


The EcoCompass is a participatory course curriculum that has been designed to facilitate student understanding of and participation in several technical, community engagement, and planning processes. Participants learn GIS skills, mapping forms, data collection methods, ethical data processing, community engagement strategies, as well as community planning for solutions and implementation strategies.

The data, its assessment, and the interventions in response are documented through Urbinsight, building capacity in pilot cities for EcoCitizens to populate the platform with global data. In turn, Urbinsight provides a platform for training EcoCitizens, fostering a transition towards ecocities and building cooperation between them throughout the world. To learn more about the framework, methodologies and scope of engagement, take a look at the EcoCompass Compendium.

Participatory Action Research

The EcoCompass uses a framework known as Participatory Action Research (PAR). PAR challenges structural barriers to information and provides opportunities for communities to directly lead the research process, thereby leading to community-generated solutions in urban planning and public policy. Collaborative at every stage of the project, the objective of PAR is to result in action rather than research for its own sake.

Scope of Engagement

The EcoCompass is comprised of different types of engagement undertaken in a chronological format. The ten steps involved in the EcoCompass span two phases:

PHASE I : Knowledge Sharing

Step 1 — Introduction and Alignment
Step 2 — Partner Identification
Step 3 — Academic Courses
Step 4 — Leadership Roundtable
Step 5 — Bootcamp Training
Step 6 — Debrief and Adaptation

PHASE II : Implementation

Step 7 — Tool Refinement
Step 8 — Community Intensives
Step 9 — Neighborhood Planning
Step 10 — Project Development

The last step of the EcoCompass involves educational support for project development, and includes strategies such as establishing a database of best practices and construction standards for sustainable and equitable interventions; such a database is further populated by interventions implemented as an outcome of Urbinsight.